Around 150 gathered to protest last Friday about what they feel were divisive and inflammatory comments made by the Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, after the series of national Black Lives Matter protests held on Saturday, June 6.
On June 7, Mr Hogan said on his Facebook page [quoted verbatim below] under a heading of ‘Black Lives Do Matter’, that the protest in Lismore was not okay.
‘Saturday’s protest in Lismore was not okay. People have had to miss funerals of loved ones. Many events have been cancelled, including ANZAC Day. Many people have lost their jobs.
‘This has happened because they have been compelled to abide by social distancing laws.
‘For the protestors (well over 500 in Lismore) to completely ignore these requirements on Saturday, risks the health of everyone.
‘All the sacrifices made by so many people was completely disregarded.
‘I will be accused of all sorts of things by making these comments. What happened in the U.S. was a terrible crime. Black lives do matter. Deaths in custody are unacceptable. The right to protest is a right we should always have.
‘That been said, Saturday’s protest, while I understand the intention, was irresponsible. I feel for those who have made sacrifices through COVID. It was completely disregarded on Saturday. The health advances we have made have been put at great risk.’
Lismore Black Lives Matter
Hosted by the Lismore Black Lives Matter Movement, protesters hoped to highlight the movement and maintain the sentiment of the issue. ‘We are keeping the fire and momentum going, until this government listens, until there is justice and equality in this country for our people,’ said the event page. ‘Because BLM.’ [quoted verbatim below]
‘We Are Keeping The Fire & Momentum Going Until This Government Listens Until There Is Justice & Equality In This Country For Our People Because BLM.
‘We Are Also Rallying & Petitioning Against MP Kevin Hogan For Opening Up His Gob & Causing A Racist War & Giving White Supremacists The Opportunity To Fire & Respond To His Bias Comments & Causing Division In Our Community & Not Taking Our Struggles & Fight For Justice Into Consideration But Targeting Our Protests For Votes So Due To His Actions
‘We Ask For Kevin Hogan To Apologise To Our People & Stand Down Or Be Stood Down So Please Sign The Petition. We Are Also Calling Upon The Minister For Correctional Services To Take Action & To Be Accountable For All The Black Men & Women Lives Taken At The Hands Of Their Corrective Service Offices (Screws) While In Incarnation & That Justice Be Served & These Officers Charged & Sentenced At The Full Force Of Your Law For Murder We Also Ask That The Police Commissioner Take Action & Accountability Against Police Brutality That Have Taken So Many Black Lives In This Country Also
‘We Ask For Justice To Be Served & For A Full Inquiring Into All Deaths In Custody By Police & Corrective Services.’
Delegates went to Hogan’s office
On Friday, all those gathered waited at the Transit Centre while four delegates went to Mr Hogan’s office to deliver a petition and letters. They were told that Mr Hogan was ‘not in’, and gave their material to the receptionist.
Several Indigenous people shared stories during the event about deaths in custody, police mistreatment and targeting behaviour, ongoing oppression and systemic racism.
Organisers say the protest was held in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions with distancing, masks and sanitiser.
Echonetdaily contacted Mr Hogan’s PR person in regard to this, but to date, we have not had a response.