Fresh from her Supreme Court victory on Friday, 23-year-old Newcastle University law student Taylah Gray led a Black Lives Matter rally of about 1000 people through the city's streets on Sunday demanding an end to black deaths in custody and "over-policing" of the Indigenous.
Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson authorised the protest after NSW Police had made an application last week to ban it over fears it could spread the coronavirus.
The rally organisers, community group Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT), enlisted marshals to hand out face masks and encouraged protesters to register their names online.
Ms Gray, who was the defendant in the Supreme Court case, made full use of the court's endorsement, delivering a passionate address in Civic Park then helping lead the rally as it moved to Pacific Park.
She read out a 10-point plan of action which included abolishing youth prisons and redistributing their funding to social services, opening an independent inquiry into black deaths in custody, abolishing elements of police Powers and Responsibilities legislation, raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, and decriminalising drugs.
"No more police investigating police. Shame on your system, officers," she said.
Ms Gray also called for abolishing offensive language as an offence, which she said was "just a damn excuse for police to arrest because they feel disrespected".
"Allow our sovereign governance to operate concurrently with the western system. Acknowledge this," she told the crowd.
"Number 10, last but not least, come to the table. Yarn with every nation in this country and let's talk treaty."
Another speaker, Harry Reuben, acknowledged the 2016 death of Rebecca Maher in Maitland police station, which the NSW Coroner later found would not have happened had police followed the correct protocols.
The protesters stopped at two points along the march route to dance as lines of police officers looked on.
The vocal crowd kept up several chants, including "always was, always will be Aboriginal land" and "no justice, no peace, no racist police".
Rally co-organiser Tameeka Tighe said 437 indigenous people had died in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody.
"But I want to say they're not the only black deaths in custody," she told the crowd.
"In 1831 Lachlan Macquarie declared martial law on our people, and we became prisoners of war in our own country.
"Every black death in this country is a black death in custody. Every one of them. Every black death in this country is a black death in custody, because Australia is a f---ing crime scene.
Every black death in this country is a black death in custody, because Australia is a f---ing crime scene.Tameeka Tighe
"This place is a crime scene, and there is blood on every copper's hands. Every one of them.
"And we stand here demanding our birth right, not our civil right, our birth right, to exist peacefully in this country, not over-policed, not at the hands of white systems that continue to oppress our people."
Newcastle police district commander Superintendent Brett Greentree said the rally had finished with no arrests.
"We had no major incidents or issues," he said. "We were reasonably happy with the success of the operation and the behaviour of the crowd.
"I understand the passion. I've no problem with that.
"I just want to commend the professionalism of the police right throughout the operation.
"I think the police handled themselves extremely well and professional in amongst some pretty nasty commentary.
"But I understand the passion, and everybody's got a democratic right to protest."
Sunday's rally followed a first Black Lives Matter protest in Newcastle last month drew a crowd of about 5000.
The police had argued against Sunday's protest on the grounds it would contravene the government's limit of 20 people at an outdoor public gathering.