Six people were arrested by police in Sydney's Domain this morning, just minutes before a Black Lives Matter protest was slated to kick off.
"Over the last 24 hours, we have said time and time again, do not turn up", New South Wales Assistant Police Commissioner Mick Willing told reporters in Sydney.
Rally organiser Paddy Gibson was one of those arrested.
On several different dates since protests began in late May, police have used tear gas, pepper spray, batons, blast balls and less-than-lethal projectiles against large crowds of demonstrators. Some estimates said there were 50 protesters compared to 400 police officers, far fewer than were initially expected to attend.
Justice Mark Ierace on Sunday accepted the police argument that the possibility of community transmission of COVID-19 arising from the Sydney rally made the event too risky. A similar percentage said leagues and teams should develop marketing campaigns for social change while letting athletes protest.
"We are not anti-the-right-to-protest". 'This is about public safety. "We understand that the issues that are in question here are significant and are sensitive to a lot of people. However we must do what we can to ensure the public, in general, are safe".
Australia on Monday reported its highest ever single-day increase in cases after a flare-up of infections in Victoria state.
Almost 70% of fans - compared with 62% of the general population - said they support Black Lives Matter.
The march was called to highlight the deaths of Aboriginal people in custody, building off of the momentum of the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the world following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota two months ago.
"The issue is not whether a peaceful protester experienced a police use of force; the issue is whether the officers, at the time he or she deployed that force, did so in a manner that was necessary, reasonable, proportionate and targeted at a specific threat to a person or property", the city's lawyers claim.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian had earlier appealed to "people's conscience and ethical standards" not to attend.
"Please share spread the word the rally is OVER", organisers said on Facebook.