In the wake of worldwide protests supporting the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, hundreds of Ballarat community members came together to show their support for people of colour.
Organised by the Ballaarat Allies group, the protest at Alfred Deakin Place aimed to shine a light on the ongoing issue of high proportions of deaths of black individuals in police custody.
Event speaker Lunorphare Kodjo Folly said the protest went better than he could have expected and praised community members who were in attendance for taking the first step making a difference.
WATCH THE FIRST 25 MINUTES OF THE EVENT HERE:
"I'm more than pleased with how it went," he said.
"It's amazing to see the amount of people that showed up and showed their support for something that's been happening within the community for a long time.
"Protests like this help people open up and learn more about their community. These issues that have gone on unquestioned and unanswered and bubbling up to the surface."
The event featured a indigenous smoke ceremony as well as a number of songs and speeches from members of the community, although was mostly silent throughout.
Mr Folly said the form of protest allowed people to reflect on their own feelings about the issue without fear of attack.
"We wanted this event to be silent so people who have struggled with these issues could reflect with those around them without fear of persecution from others."
Members of the police were visible for much of the protest, making sure everything proceeded in a safe manner.
SEE THE FULL GALLERY HERE:
During the smoke ceremony, three police members moved forward and participated, taking a knee in front of the fire. The show of solidarity was met with applause from those in attendance, as well as tears of some members of the community.
Mr Folly said the act was very important and thanked the members for stepping forward.
"It meant a lot, that's exactly what we're looking for," he continued.
"We're looking for the police to unite with us, we're looking for the police to show the support to what has been a battle for many people for a long time.
"To see them kneeling next to the smoke ceremony showed exactly what the community has been looking for."
WATCH THE VIDEO OF POLICE MEMBERS KNEELING HERE:
Ballarat Police Inspector Dan Davison attended the protest and said he was pleased with how it went.
"From my perspective it was a safely exercised protest and we respect the right of anyone to protest peacefully and lawfully," he said.
"It appeared as though everyone was trying their best as far as social distancing went. We had no arrests or cause to speak to anyone in terms of any wrong-doing.
"Our stance from the very get-go was to provide whatever support we could to the organisers of the rally to make sure we had a peaceful rally and to make sure there was no impact on the broader community."
In terms of others in attendance, Mr Folly praised Councillor Belinda Coates for showing her support for the event, however added he would have liked to see more from other members of the City of Ballarat Council.
"I would have loved to see more councillors here but I think we've seen some support from people like Belinda Coates who was here today, as well as Juliana Addison and Daniel Andrews online."
Cr Coates said she thought the event was very encouraging in terms of the number of compassionate participants there were.
"It was really moving to see the community come together in such large numbers off just a few days notice," she said.
"It's incredibly important that the momentum keeps going and we have more events like this. We want to bring more people to the table and have more discussions about the barriers some people face because of race."
Looking at the importance of these protests, Cr Coates said she would always look to use her platform to help support large-scale issues such as this.
"I'm here in solidarity and that's not a new thing for me," she added.
"When I support an issue or a group of people I physically come to demonstrate that. It does make a difference for people to see that... it's walking the walk after you've talked the talk."
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