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Policeman denies knowingly giving ‘white power’ gesture

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

NSW Police has denied that an officer photographed in Sydney’s CBD last night was doing a “white power” gesture.

NSW Police has denied that an officer photographed in Sydney's CBD last night was doing a "white power" gesture.

The gesture is commonly known as a sign for "okay", but it has been co-opted by white supremacists as a sign for their movement.

A NSW Police Force spokesperson said the officer "did not intentionally make a gesture that could be deemed offensive".

The officer is seen making the gesture while crossing Pitt Street.

"Further, the officer indicated he was responding to a group of women about the night being 'okay' and used a hand symbol as he was wearing a face mask," the spokesperson said.

"He did not know the gesture had any other meaning.

"The NSW Police Force works closely to foster a strong and cohesive partnership with Aboriginal communities and other groups and does not appreciate irresponsible inflammatory commentary in this space."

A photo of the officer has been circulating on Twitter, with the photographer accusing him of "throwing white power to the camera".

Read more: Big Bash fan apologises for 'white power salute' during match

The photo was taken by Enoch Mailangi, an indigenous and Polynesian screenwriter.

The policeman's identity is obscured by a face mask.

The photo was taken as a group of officers were crossing Pitt Street, in the Sydney CBD.

Police had a heavy presence in the city overnight, surrounding a statue of Captain James Cook amid fears it could be vandalised.

According to the American-based Anti-Defamation League's website, the 'OK gesture' has been: "appropriated as a symbol meaning 'white power'.

"Used by many on the right - not just extremists - for the purpose of trolling liberals, the symbol eventually came to be used by actual white supremacists as well."

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However the group also warned that: "caution must be used in evaluating instances of this symbol's use".

Around 300 protesters showed up to Friday night's Black Lives Matter rally in the Sydney CBD, and were out-numbered two-to-one by a strong police presence.

The rally moved from Town Hall to Hyde Park after being ordered to move-on by police.A 24-year-old woman was fined $1000 for failing to obey police direction.

-with AAP

Source: 9News

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