More than 1000 people have gathered in Perth overnight to show solidarity for American demonstrators reeling after the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd.Â Â
Floyd was pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer for nearly nine minutes; for much of that time, Floyd was unresponsive. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who along with three others was fired over the incident, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Protesters in Perth, who met at Forrest Chase – an outdoor shopping mall in the cityâ€™s CBD, held placards that said â€œWe canâ€™t breatheâ€ and â€œ400-plus deaths.â€
The â€œ400-plus deathsâ€ sign refers to findings from The Guardianâ€™s special 2018 Deaths Inside report that used 10 years of coronial data to find 407 Indigenous Australians had died in police care since the end of 1991â€™s royal commission.Â
Police presence was strong at the event but the rally remained peaceful with speakers addressing the parallels between the death of George Floyd and Australiaâ€™s Black deaths in custody.
There will be planned demonstrations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney over the next few days.Â
One Sydney event planned for Tuesday was cancelled due to a counter protest happening at the same location.Â Another event, the â€œSydney Black Lives Matter protestâ€ has been created on Facebook with protestors planning to meet at the Archibald Memorial Fountain at 5pm. The group will walk to NSW Parliament and onto the US Embassy.Â
â€œWe will take a knee, showing our solidarity to Indigenous communities here in Australia and the African American community in America,â€ the Facebook event said.Â Â
The event is being led by a First Nations organiser from the Australian Communist PartyÂ Kieran Stewart-Asheeton and there will be First Nations peoples speaking at the rally.Â Stewart-Asheeton said he will be in touch with Gadigal elders Tuesday morning to confirm their support for the march, â€œif they request us to cancel the event we will respect their wishes and be cancelling,â€ he said.Â Â Â
Attendees have been asked to bring masks and water.Â More on the event below:Â
In an email to American citizens living in Australia, the US consulate said its Sydney city offices would shut early on Tuesday as a result. â€œPolice expect counter protesters,â€ the email read, without providing further details.
Meanwhile thousands of New Zealanders have marched peacefully across NZ cities in solidarity with George Floyd.Â
A crowd of about 4,000 people gathered in Auckland on Monday to chant â€œBlack Lives Matterâ€ in the streets.Â Â
The event was part of a number of protests around the globe, from London to Berlin and the Netherlands.Â
Protesters in New Zealandâ€™s Auckland city sat on the road after their peaceful march as they raised clenched fists in a sign of unity, solidarity and Black Power.
Social media posts showed demonstrators outside the American Consulate in Auckland wielding posters that read â€œJustice For George Floydâ€ and â€œAre We Next?â€.
In the capital Wellington, more than 100 people walked from New Zealandâ€™s parliament building to the American Embassy, chanting â€œBlack Lives Matterâ€.Â
Swati Pandey of Reuters contributed to this report.Â