South Australian police will be ready to deal with “any eventuality” despite moves by protesters to cancel a second Black Lives Matter rally in Adelaide this weekend.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens says if people decide to gather in Victoria Square on Saturday, they could be fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’ll have a police presence in the vicinity to deal with any eventuality that may occur,” Mr Stevens told a parliamentary committee on Thursday.
“As we’ve done with every restriction imposed on the community, we’ll seek to work with those people, provide them advice and give them an opportunity to comply with the directions before we consider taking any further steps.”
On Wednesday, organisers cancelled the second rally but vowed to return to the streets in the future.
The protest last weekend drew a crowd of more than 5000 to Victoria Square, calling for justice over the death of American man George Floyd and for action on the issue of Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Taking to Facebook, the Adelaide Campaign Against Racism and Fascism said organisers felt they could not proceed after Mr Stevens refused to give the second event an exemption from coronavirus restrictions.
However, they said they did not accept the police and government’s power to decide when they were allowed to protest.
Premier Steven Marshall, who planned to meet the group on Thursday, said he was happy to look at any ways of reducing indigenous incarceration in South Australia.
“We still have 23 per cent of our prison population here in South Australia made up by indigenous people. This is unacceptable,” he said.
“The protesters clearly have the attention of the government.
“I’m 100 per cent committed to sitting down with the organisers and with leaders across our indigenous communities to address the issues that they’re raising.”