Protest against police brutality ends in violent clashes with cops

Protest against police brutality ends in violent clashes with cops
Image: Deep Field Photography © Mark H Dickson Deepfieldphoto



A snap rally against police brutality saw protestors clash with police officers in Sydney on Friday night, just hours after a peaceful vigil for gay couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

Activist group Pride in Protest organised the rally, which took place on Oxford Street the night before Mardi Gras and saw over 300 people attend.

Police say it was an “unauthorised protest” and that “the crowd were directed to move onto the footpath”, but videos have surfaced of officers aggressing the protestors.

In a statement, the group said “police officers formed lines, and began pushing, hitting, and threatening people.”

Evan van Zijl from Pride in Protest told City Hub that “police violence, intimidation and threats are not new to queer and Blak peoples.”

“The people who threatened to kill one of us if ‘we tried it’ tonight are the people who march in the parade.”


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Police brutality continues

“We saw cops hitting and shoving our friends and chosen family,” they continued. “We saw a police officer grab our friend, a trans woman, by her throat. We heard officers threatening to pepper spray a stationary, non-violent crowd.”

“We sustained countless scrapes, cuts and bruises at the hands of these police officers, but are called unreasonable for asking that they not be invited to march with us in Mardi Gras tomorrow.”

Member and former Board Director Wei said “Police have shown us time and time again that they are not our friends, they don’t protect our community, rather they abuse and put some of our most vulnerable community members in direct harm.”

The activist group has long campaigned for police to be barred from marching in the Mardi Gras parade.

Tensions have flared between the LGBTIQ community and police since a senior constable was charged for murdering Jesse Baird and Luke Davies with a police-issued gun.

The backflip decision of the Mardi Gras board to allow police to march out of uniform in the parade has been a further “betrayal” for many members of the community.

Tribute to Jesse Baird and Luke Davies

Speakers moved to Oxford Street to continue speeches after a peaceful vigil for Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, who were allegedly murdered by a police officer last week.

Speeches highlighted “the systemic, institutional violence perpetrated by police and the carceral system against queer and First Nations communities” and called for a defunding and disarming of the police.

Police have failed to implement any recommendations of the Sackar inquiry into LGBT+ hate crimes or the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deaths in Custody.

No officers were present at the vigil, but many politicians attended to pay their respects, as well as members of Qantas in uniform.

Qantas crew in uniform at the vigil for Jesse Baird and Luke Davies. Mark Dickson

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