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Australians hold Black Lives Matter protests

17 July 2016 17:41

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Hundreds of Australian people have joined the Black Lives Matter movement, holding rallies in major cities to protest against the killing of two African Americans by police in the United States.

Nearly 1,000 protesters held a demonstration in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon and blocked the traffic to express solidarity with similar recent rallies across the US and Britain and to show support for African Americans, who suffer from discrimination and racism in the United States.

The protesters, among whom were high-profile sport stars, marched down Swanston Street before staging a sit-in at Flinders Street Station. They were chanting the campaign slogan “Black Lives Matter,” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” while expressing hatred against the US police’s brutality and racism.

On Saturday, supporters of the campaign held a similar demonstration in Sydney. Protesters gathered in front of the city hall before marching toward the US Consulate in Martin Place to slam police brutality and racism.

In both rallies, a large number of Australia’s Aboriginal people also denounced the discrimination and racism in their country.

“The government really doesn’t care for black lives in this country. For 200 years we have lived under genocide,” Aboriginal woman Yarramun Conole said in the Melbourne protest.


Speakers raise their fists at a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney, Australia, July 16, 2016. (AFP)

The rallies came after 37-year-old Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5, and 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot dead on July 6 by a police officer near St. Paul, Minnesota.

The shootings have led to thousands of people holding demonstrations in cities across the United States ever since.

The use of excessive force by law enforcement officers in the United States has become the focus of national debates in the country, particularly over high-profile killings of African Americans by mainly white officers during the past several years.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Saturday showed that a great majority of Americans, about 63 percent, see race relations in the US as “generally bad” and believe the next US president should place “major” focus on improving the situation.

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