MELBOURNE: Australians who defied public health rules and rallied in support of the United States' "Black Lives Matter" movement were reckless and self-indulgent, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said on Sunday (Jun 7).
More than 20,000 people protested in Sydney and other cities on Saturday, in solidarity with US anger over the death of a black man in police custody and calling for an end to similar deaths of indigenous Australians.
Cormann said the protesters risked a second outbreak of COVID-19.
"I think it is incredibly selfish," Cormann told Sky News. "It's incredibly self-indulgent."
Australia has had 7,255 cases of the coronavirus and 102 deaths, avoiding the higher tolls seen elsewhere because of border closures and strict social distancing since March. Small outbreaks, however, still emerge.
The protests came despite calls by authorities for people to stay at home and obey social distancing rules that allow only for small groups to gather.
Cormann later told reporters that many Australians had lost their jobs, the economy had suffered and people had been unable to attend funerals of loved ones in order to stop the virus.
"But we are going to have a mass gathering of tens of thousands of people in complete breach of the rules that apply to everyone else, it is absolutely reckless and irresponsible," heRead More – Source