SATURDAY saw around 20,000 people attend Sydney's Black and Indigenous Lives Matter rally in Sydney where protesters marched from Town Hall to Belmore Park to highlight the high rate of deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody.
Originally the Supreme Court ruled the rally an unauthorised public assembly, however the Court of Appeal overturned that decision on Saturday morning, minutes before the rally was scheduled to begin.
The family of David Dungay Jnr, a Dunghutti man who died at Sydney's Long Bay jail on December 29, 2015, were in attendance while Leroy Fernando also represented the Kempsey community.
David Dungay Jr's family appeared on ABC program QandA last night, demanding justice for the death of their son.
"I'm asking the panel, will you join us to demand charges are laid on the people responsible for my son's death?", David Dungay's mother, Leetona, asked.
Mr Fernando, a former student of Melville High School, now studies social legal studies and international relations at the University of Sydney where he's in his third year.
He attended both last Tuesday's and Saturday's rallies.
We're protesting against injustices, for the safety and security of our people, and to tear down racist institutions that think they can get away with deaths in custody like David Dungay JrLeroy Fernando
The Tuesday rally was organised at short notice by the Australian Communist Party with the support of local Aboriginal Elders at Hyde Park.
Sign up here for a free weekly newsletter from the Macleay Argus.
The protest was peaceful, as members sat outside NSW Parliament advocating for change in regards to the treatment of First Nations people.
"The energy was high, there was a lot of protesting in advocacy for deaths in custody, George Floyd and against police brutality and a lot of outcry against institutional racism and oppression against Aboriginal Australians and African Americans," Mr Fernando said.
Saturday's protest was significantly different, with rallies occurring all over Australia as well as the majority of state capital cities.
These rallies were conducted in defiance of health experts and prime ministerial advice as people exercised their decision to protest, with lawyers for rally organiser Raul Bassi saying they believed it was a "reasonable excuse" to breach the public health orders stopping mass gatherings.
Indigenous Social Justice Association, USYD Autonomous Collective Against Racism and Anti-colonial Asian Alliance, were the main organisers behind the rally.
The Saturday event saw multiple protests converge, while a vigil was held for the death of George Floyd.
"There was quite a lot of people there with support from all walks of life, with every facet of the community represented," Mr Fernando said of Saturday's rally.
"People were joining in solidarity against police brutality, and at first it was very peaceful, well organised and very respectful of social-distancing.
"Everyone was wearing masks and the energy was very inviting with that outrage and outcry against police brutality however it did get a bit hazy once the protest ended with some protesters herded into Central Station where unfortunately there was the use of capsicum spray.
"That behaviour represented a minority - with the majority of the protest, which ended at around 6, conducted peacefully with people marching through Town Hall to Central Station."
"The fact there were a number of groups of individuals after the protest that chose to act unlawfully is disappointing to us," he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
"Police aren't punching bags and don't deserve to have this happen."
Mr Lanyon said several people were "inciting" police and when officers tried to settle the situation, a 21-year-old man allegedly acted aggressively towards them.
Officers from the riot squad attempted to remove him and a struggle ensued, police said.
The man was arrested with police alleging the group became more aggressive, prompting officers to deploy capsicum spray.
"I support the use of the capsicum spray and the way the police responded in order to ensure that there was no further violence," Mr Lanyon said.
"They acted professionally and took the appropriate action."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg admits much more needs to be done to reduce the rates of indigenous people in prison.
Mr Frydenberg lamented the fact indigenous people made up just three percent of the Australian population but almost 30 percent of prisoner numbers.
In relation to protests, an Australian National University study showed concerning figures around the perception of indigenous Australians by Australian people.
The study found that three out of four Australians hold a racial bias against Indigenous Australians.
No matter their age, gender, job, religion, education level or income - the majority of people modelled on average held an unconscious negative view.
"It was certainly shocking ... but it also wasn't necessarily surprising," author Siddharth Shirodkar told AAP.
"It says something, not so much about Indigenous people, it says something more about the rest of us."
For Leroy Fernando, it's these figures, the protection of his identity, the deaths of Floyd and Dungay Jnr and the future of the Indigenous population that form the motivation for his attendance at these protests.
"I'm an Aboriginal man myself and for me rallying isn't just to protest, it's me defending my existence as a person, my right to live, my right to freedom, my right to not be a statistic for police brutality and deaths in custody," he said.
"The reason why I joined this rally and advocate is to shed light on the injustices committed on Indigenous Australians and highlight the racism that I go through and everyone else goes through every single day and that we are not okay with this, we are not going to accept this treatment.
"For David Dungay Jr's family, justice is the priority but these protests are complex and can't be spearheaded into one issue. What happened to George Floyd and David Dungay Jr is incredibly disgusting and we want justice but along with that we're protesting for anyone else that can be in George or David's shoes.
"We're protesting against injustices, for the safety and security of our people, and to tear down racist institutions that think they can get away with deaths in custody like David Dungay Jr."
Mr Fernando added that immediate results aren't expected, but the dialogue currently within the Australian community around racism and the treatment of Indigenous people in custody is a measure of success for these protests.
"The priority is to get justice but it's also to ensure these injustices don't happen again and I do think that these (protests) are a success, we don't need tangible results right now, nothing happens straight away, but it's started a discussion and gets everyone thinking about how people are treated and how authoritarian areas of policing can affect and change entire lives," he explained.
Mr Fernando also referenced figures in the Northern Territory where in 2018, NT Families Department confirmed that every single child in an NT detention centre was Aboriginal, with that figure being around 38 people.
"I think the whole purpose is to ask why do these statistics happen, why are these people not being looked after, and why are they in this current circumstance?" he asked.
"My three main aims for these protests are to lobby for justice, promote discourse and highlight all these areas of disadvantage to work out how we can fix these and improve these not just for Indigenous Australians but for every Australian."
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, was pleased to see people adhere to certain coronavirus guidelines.
"I was encouraged to see the face masks yesterday ... those people were doing the right thing," Professor Kelly said on Sunday.
Mr Fernando said he was one of those people abiding by those laws, and explained people were attempting to ensure everyone was following those regulations.
"At both rallies I wore a mask and social-distanced, it was amazing to see almost every protester wearing a mask while people were running around with entire 100 packs of masks, handing them out, hand sanitising people, along with first aid officers supplying equipment and bottles of water," he said.
"It was disappointing from what I saw that not one single police officer was wearing a mask or social-distancing."
As for self-isolating, Mr Fernando said if he notices any symptoms - testing will be his first priority.
"I don't think I'll have to self-isolate, I haven't really been going anywhere besides from getting coffee or exercising," he said.
"I went back to Kempsey recently for a month and got a test done and self-isolated for two weeks before I went there.
"If I do show symptoms I will get tested and self-isolate."