THERE will be no winners if a planned Black Lives Matter protest goes ahead, as expected, in Sydney on Tuesday.
Organisers say they will push ahead with the rally despite a NSW Supreme Court ruling on Sunday that the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 among the thousands who had indicated they would attend the event simply made it too risky.
The court acknowledged there was no evidence that a larger rally in Sydney on June 6, attended by at least 10,000 people, had resulted in any transmission of the virus.
But the expert health evidence had since been elevated to "medium" due to multiple clusters in Sydney and the resurgence of the virus in Victoria, Justice Mark Ierace said.
That means if the rally does go ahead it will be deemed a prohibited public assembly and NSW Police issued a statement on Sunday confirming officers would be directed to take "appropriate action, if required" against protesters.
And so the stage has been set for a potentially ugly confrontation that will do nothing to protect the community against COVID-19, nor advance the cause of reconciliation.
Rather, we will just see another sorry chapter in the broader Australian community's relationship with our indigenous people - a relationship that has come so far yet still has so far to go.
Advancing that relationship will require some greater determination from all parties to put themselves in the other's shoes, but particularly those who have been so quick to brand the rally organisers irresponsible or selfish.
There's no doubt those pushing for the rally to go ahead understand the risks involved and the potential for an outbreak if just a single person attending is infected with COVD-19 without knowing it.
But they also know that this is a better chance than most to bring attention to their cause and, in the case of the Sydney rally, particularly the 2015 death in custody of indigenous man David Dungay.
If Mr Dungay's family and friends believe no one has listened to them for the past five years then can we really be surprised they are determined to seize on a chance to speak to a wider audience?
That's not to say they're right to do so, but nor is it to say they're wrong.
It's simply to say that moving too quickly to demonise people before we take a moment to walk in their shoes does nothing for the greater cause.
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