Jun 7, 2020 - World

Top Australian official calls Black Lives Matter protests "reckless"

Aboriginal protesters perform a traditional smoking ceremony before the start of a Black Lives Matter demonstration
Indigenous Australian protesters perform a traditional smoking ceremony before the start of a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Saturday. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

Australia's finance minister called Black Lives Matter protesters "selfish" on Sunday after tens of thousands of Australians rallied in cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the weekend despite a ban on large gatherings during the pandemic.

Details: Mathias Cormann told Sky News it's "reckless" and "self-indulgent" to hold demonstrations as officials try to stop the spread of COVID-19. Police in the state of Victoria said they would fine protest organizers A$1,652 (U.S.$1,150) each for defying the ban, per AAP.

Of note: The rallies were held to show support for U.S. protesters and to highlight the disproportionate number of deaths in custody and incarceration of indigenous Australians.

  • Indigenous adults make up about 2% of Australia's population and 27% of the national prison population, official figures show.

By the numbers: Australia has 562 active novel coronavirus cases as of Sunday, per Australian Health Department data.

Go deeper: In photos: People around the world rally against racism

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