Statements by Friends of the Earth US and Australia.
Friends of the Earth U.S. statement
Friends of the Earth U.S. condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the continued state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States. Today and every day, we declare Black lives matter.
These recent acts of police violence are consistent with a larger system of racism in this country, present since the founding of the nation. We are witnessing the ways in which this systemic racism is manifesting at this moment: the disproportionate and militarized police violence Black people experience when exercising democratic rights to protest; the state's violent neglect of Black communities during the current Covid-19 crisis; and the active and ongoing suppression of the fundamental right to vote. We also recognize the many ways in which Black communities experience environmental racism, disproportionately bearing the burdens of pollution and toxic exposures.
Echoing the demands of frontline organizations, in this moment we call for: the defunding of police departments, the reallocation of resources directly to communities for healthcare, housing, and economic opportunity, and the full prosecution of all police involved in the recent murders of Black lives.
The full statement is online at www.foe.org.au/support_black_lives_defund_police
Friends of the Earth Australia statement
Friends of the Earth Australia stand in solidarity with the uprising for Black lives in Minneapolis and across the United States. We are horrified by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police force. But while we are horrified, we are not surprised. The violence of the police hits African Americans, First Nations, Latinos, Asians and other minorities hardest, and has done for centuries.
Sadly this is not just a travesty of justice in the USA. Globally, Indigenous people face the repression of states and their police forces. In Australia, as in North America, the country was established through colonisation characterised by massacres and attempted genocide.
This is not a story from the past: At least 432 Indigenous people have died in custody in Australia since 1991.
In addition to police violence, Indigenous people in Australia continue to face threats to their lands, waters and sacred places by mining and resource companies. Indigenous people have always resisted. We honour that resistance, commit to be allies in their struggles, and declare our support for Black Lives Matter and the movement to end Black Deaths in Custody here in this country.
FoE statement of solidarity with BLM rally organisers
28 July 2020 ‒ Today, on unceded Gadigal Land, NSW, police arrested and fined Aboriginal family and supporters of the murdered 26 year old Dunghutti man, David Dungany Jr, who were calling for an investigation into his killing whilst in custody.
They wanted to present a petition of almost 100,000 names to the parliament asking for charges to be laid against the five prison guards involved with his death. Black Lives Matter rally organisers had said they would consider calling off the rally if the New South Wales premier committed to asking SafeWork NSW and the director of public prosecutions to investigate whether charges should be laid against the guards involved in the death of David Dungay Jr. This seemed like a reasonable request which the government declined.
The family and supporters then changed a plan for a protest after NSW police took them to court and had the protest declared a public health risk. Instead of a march, people simply gathered in the Domain to listen to speeches. The organisers made sure that everyone had a mask and were socially distancing. However, NSW Police still decided to make arrests and issue fines to those attending.
Friends of the Earth are concerned about the suppression of the voice of Indigenous People who are calling for an investigation into a death in custody that should never have happened. We are concerned that NSW shopping centres and malls, with thousands of people in close proximity and very few face masks, are deemed essential services, yet protests are seen as a public health threat. This seems to be a strikingly blatant attack on the democratic rights of First Nations people and the rest of Australia.