Australia Woman on crutches says she was 'maced in the face', two others charged after Sydney protest

06:20  07 june  2020
06:20  07 june  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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At least 20,000 protesters marched through the Sydney CBD on Saturday, following a last-minute court ruling that the planned protest could go ahead after NSW Police were earlier granted an injunction to stop it.

In the biggest public gathering in NSW since the coronavirus restrictions were imposed in mid-March, protesters gathered at Town Hall on Saturday afternoon, chanting "Black lives matter" and "I can't breathe".

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Following the peaceful protest, several people were arrested in Central Station where police used pepper spray to disperse a small group of protesters.

Jane Margaret was inside Central Railway Station following Saturday's largely peaceful protests, when she intervened between black protesters and police "getting quite handsy and aggressive", she said in a video on Instagram filmed from a hospital bed.

"I felt so scared for them, so I pushed forwards on my crutches. I held my hands out to create a shield, and I just said 'Don't touch'," she said in the video.

She said that the protesters were "yelling and passionate", but were not violent.

"One of the police officers put his hands around my throat... [another] stepped forward with a Mace can and at point blank, 10cm from my face, just sprayed me with Mace."

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She said that she was given first aid at the scene, then eventually went to hospital.

Police said on Sunday morning that a 21-year-old man had been charged with resisting arrest and offensive behaviour following Saturday's protest.

In a statement released on Sunday morning, NSW Police said the Mount Druitt man allegedly became violent as police attempted to move people through Central Station and "some individuals reportedly became aggressive".

"Officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS) attempted to remove him and a struggle ensued," said the police statement.

"After the group became increasingly aggressive, OC spray was deployed."

Five people were treated for the effects at the scene, police said.

The man was taken to Surry Hills Police Station and charged with resisting police and offensive behaviour, and granted conditional bail to appear in Mount Druitt Local Court in August.

Police have also charged a 23-year-old man from Balmain with affray, following a fight between him and a 15-year-old boy prior to the protest beginning.

"Police will allege the man became aggressive and was tasered and arrested," said a statement on Sunday morning.

The man was refused bail to appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday.

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