UPDATE: Novocastrians to join global fight


Thousands of Hunter residents rallied on Saturday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite the withdrawal of police approval, protesters turned up in droves.

They marched to bring an end to black deaths in custody, while calling for justice for George Floyd, a man killed by police in America.

The huge crowds marched from Pacific Park to Civic Park in the city’s CBD, with hundreds of protesters blocking the intersection at King and Darby Streets by lying on their stomachs chanting, “I can’t breathe”.


Hunter residents were due to gather in Newcastle today to rally for a cause that has captured the world.

Protest essentials. Image: FISTT

The Stop Black Deaths in Custody – Justice for George Floyd protest was calling on the community to join the fight.

However, organisers have ceased further planning following the withdrawal of Police approval yesterday.

It comes after the planned Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney was refused authorisation due to health and safety concerns associated with COVID-19.

However, the organisation has told individuals they have the option to exercise their right to protest peacefully as individuals. 

“[The Indigenous-led] protest [hoped] to stand in solidarity with George Floyd and his family; and to highlight and demand justice for the Deaths in Custody of all First Nations, Black and Brown people globally,” A Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT) spokesperson said.

“FISTT wants to bring awareness, and demand action, to appropriately implement the 339 recommendations handed down in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991.”

According to the group, there have been at least 432 black deaths in custody since 1991.

That’s more than one death a month.

The FISTT spokesperson says the loss of life to police brutality is sickening.

“It sickens me, and I fear for my life as a black [person] every day,” they said.

“In the case of Rebecca Maher, she was a young mum whose death could have been prevented.

“Rebecca died in Maitland Police Station in 2016 – it’s happening in our backyard and Australia has blood all over its hands.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most incarcerated in the world.

“We only make up 3% of the Australian population yet make up 28% of the prison population.”

The protest was set to occur at Pacific Park, Newcastle, from 2pm before protestors would have marched to Civic Park.

All protesters have been asked to wear black to mourn and acknowledge all black deaths in custody.

Attendees were also encouraged to adhere to social distancing requirements by wearing a face mask, practicing hand hygiene and physically distancing from other protestors.

The spokesperson added that if you could not attend the protest, you should use your voice to call out racism.

“Challenge your family and friends’ racist ‘jokes’ and ideologies [and] show up to protests in the future like Invasion Day 2021, because we still have a lot to fight for,” they said.

“Listen to understand; check your privilege and be willing to unlearn hurtful behaviours that may be unconscious bias.”

The spokesperson said donating to causes and signing petitions that support the movement were also appreciated.

For more information about the protest, visit The Stop Black Deaths in Custody – Justice for George Floyd protest Facebook event page.