Australia: Thousands protest against Indigenous deaths in Custody

Across Australia thousands have attended rallies last Saturday to protest against ongoing Indigenous deaths in custody. 

First Nations people in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Alice Springs marched to mark 30 years since the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody handed down its final report.

An investigation by the newspaper Guardian Australia found that at least 474 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since then, including five people since the start of March 2021.

In Melbourne, Victoria, from the steps of the Parliament, where the Aboriginal flag was lowered to half-mast in an apparent tribute to Prince Philip, the Green Senator Lydia Thorpe said: “you have to support the 10 demands from these families, not just rock up for a rally. You need to talk to your friends, families, workplaces, your associations, everywhere you have influence, those 10 demands* need to go everywhere you go.”

“Stop the genocide of our people, this is so sophisticated these days. I seat in the parliament every day. It’s a sophisticated genocide to continue to align the First people of this country. So, we wake up us, and we don’t bend to the coloniser no more and  you need to decolonise this place”. Added the Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman. 

Leetona Dungay, the mother of David Dungay Jr, also spoke in Sydney about how her son had been rushed by prison guards while he was eating a biscuit in his cell. Before he died he said 12 times that he could not breathe.

“No more royal commissions, I want real justice. The life of an Aboriginal man is worth something.”

*To read the 10 demands click in this link.

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