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"Good night, alt-right" read another. Others expressed a lack of comfort with what protesters saw as white people’s reticence about violence inflicted on people of colour.
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Dunedin’s protest was one of a series in New Zealand yesterday that followed last week’s death of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis when he was being arrested.
A wave of protests and riots erupted in the US after video emerged of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck. Mr Floyd could be heard telling the officer "I can’t breathe", before losing consciousness.
Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He and three other officers were fired.
People stood in unity against racism. Others spoke out against colonisation and some warned they were unhappy about a trial of New Zealand police teams carrying firearms.
Otago Polytechnic nursing student Kate Mihaere was clear about why she was there.
"We all need to take a stand against hatred and racism," she said.
"It doesn’t surprise me there are so many people here."
Aiden Fox, a science graduate from the University of Otago, is from Washington DC.
He was worried about the "militarised" police force in the US failing to protect people.
A six-month trial of police armed-response teams in New Zealand also bothered him.
The trial finished in April.
One of the protest organisers, Manaakitia Hoepo, told the crowd three people died from the guns of police during that trial.
He read a rhyming statement in which he asked "not to be judged by the colour of my face".
The organisers asked people at the protest to keep to groups of 30, comply with contact-tracing efforts and maintain physical distancing.
Fiona Carter-Todd, an African-American, told the crowd she was due to go back to the US soon.
"In all honesty, I’m scared," she said.
"The colour of your skin affects the way the world treats you."
White Americans did not face discrimination and, therefore, did not understand privilege, she said.
Another speaker, Edward Ennion, said people at the protest were unified in sorrow and anger about lives lost needlessly and discrimination.
"We’re sick of this, we’re tired but this keeps happening, so we cannot rest."
Cafe worker Ngaio Woods decried what she called "white silence".
"The longer we’re quiet about everything, the more people will die. We need to speak up in support of our brothers and sisters."
A police spokeswoman said she was not aware of any issues at yesterday's Dunedin protest.