A large group of people gather in a circle, and watch a woman dance to the beat of the Parai, one of the oldest Indian drums. People could be seen clapping and singing and in the middle of the circle of protesters is drummer Thirumeni Balamurugan, playing the Parai. In the video that went viral, one of the protesters comes forward, dancing to its tunes as others present at the spot cheer on. Her glasses fall off her head but she dances on.
It almost seemed like a scene from South India, but here, the message that was reverberating with the beats of the Parai was that black lives matter. The video is not from south India, but is from a Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney, Australia, which was held on Saturday.
The drummer, Thirumeni Balamurugan, is a part of the Australia Tamil Arts of the Sydney NSW chapter.
The Parai is a percussion instrument made from the skin of a dead calf. While it was once associated only with funerals, it has now become an integral part of many political rallies, and has been seen as a symbol of resistance. It is also played at temple festivals and weddings.
Protests erupted in many countries across the world after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the United States. Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck till he died, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.
Tens of thousands of people staged mass protests titled ‘Black Lives Matter’ across Australia on Saturday in support of the movement.
The protests were not only against the May 25 police custody death of the unarmed African-American man George Floyd, but they also highlighted the mistreatment and marginalisation of Australia's Aboriginal people, the BBC reported.
Banners reading "I can't breathe", remembered the words of Floyd before his death, while another said: "Same story, different soil". Many held placards that read “Black Lives Matter”.
Rallies were also organised in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and elsewhere, the BBC added.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service told the Guardian that people could not remain silent while “police violence is unchecked and continues to kill our people”.