Four people have been arrested by NSW Police at Sydney’s Invasion Day Rally at Djarrbarrgalli (The Domain) on Tuesday.
Making a statement at 1pm on Tuesday, NSW Police said two people were issued with infringement notices for allegedly breaching COVID-19 Public Health Orders, one person was charged with hindering police and the other charged for assaulting a police officer.
The four arrested were outlined by NSW Police as not part of the organised rally.
A spokesperson for NSW Police said both the police and organisers had reached an agreement to end the event early without the annual march.
“That largely occurred and I want to thank the protest organisers for doing what they did to ensure that happened,” the spokesperson said.
“As you are aware, there was a small group of protesters who weren’t part of the organised group that attended the North Hyde Park area and as a result of some confrontations, there have been four persons arrested.”
The spokesperson noted that with the exception of those arrested, those attending were “well behaved” and abided by Public Health Orders.
“At the end of the day, I think that the protest organisers abided by the agreement, police facilitated as best they possibly could to ensure that people were in groups of less than 500 and distanced,” the spokesperson said.
“You have to make operational decisions on the run and that is what happened today. I need to reinforce that agreement was based on public safety. That is our main concern and what we focused on.
“We were able to move people in and out of that area, to talk about the issues and dissipate in a way that was safe as possible.”
Protestors on the ground recorded and reported arrests via Twitter.
Police made a bunch of arrests in the wake of the Sydney #InvasionDay rally. This was not the main protest but rather a few breakaway contingents which were existing The Domain via Hyde Park. Cops tried to stop legal observers from assisting in this clip pic.twitter.com/j5u2MzNSuo
— Zac Crellin (@zacrellin) January 26, 2021
More arrests followed in the wake of the Sydney #InvasionDay rally. Organisers had already told everyone to safely leave The Domain (as per police orders) but people in these particular contingents said they were “kettled” by cops inside Hyde Park pic.twitter.com/r5fYcgraW8
— Zac Crellin (@zacrellin) January 26, 2021
#Breaking: Police have arrested at least three men during confrontations at Hyde Park after Invasion Day crowds dispersed from The Domaine. #AustraliaDay2021 #InvasionDay2021 #Sydney pic.twitter.com/7z8fJu24aW
— River McCrossen (@RivOMac) January 26, 2021
Attendance at the rally was estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 people including a large police presence. Crowds gathered in groups of 500 and wore face masks.
Despite the previous agreement, mob at the event reported intimidation by police.
NITV reporter Rachael Hocking tweeted a statement from Gomeroi woman Gwenda Stanley.
“We’ve been threatened by police intimidation saying they will smash us if we take to the streets,” she said.
“Instead of allowing them to incite a riot, we’ve advised everyone to disperse and stay safe.”
The march on Gadigal in Sydney won’t go ahead:
“We’ve been threatened by police intimidation saying they will smash us if we take to the streets. Instead of allowing them to incite a riot, we’ve advised everyone to disperse and stay safe” – Gomeroi woman Gwenda Stanley pic.twitter.com/lPJYi1ZIDG
— Rachael Hocking (@Hocking_Rachael) January 26, 2021
Organisers, Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaty (FISTT), posted to the Facebook event Monday night addressing Minister David Elliot’s comments and whether the event will go ahead.
“For the last few weeks we have attempted to negotiate with police in an attempt to reach an agreement on tomorrow’s protest,” FISTT wrote.
“However, a week ago they cancelled all negotiations and refused to meet with us again with little to no explanation provided.”
The organisers applied for an exemption under the public health order last week but heard no outcome until Monday night, when the application was denied. Organisers plan to challenge this in the Supreme Court of NSW.
FISTT said they only heard how NSW Police was going to respond to the rally via NSW Police Minister David Elliott’s comments on 2GB radio station about fining and jailing those in breach of public health orders.
“Instead of engaging with us in good faith they have publicly stated how they will respond to the rally with implicit threats of violence,” organisers said.
By Rachael Knowles