Hundreds of protestors have gathered outside the State Parliament of Victoria to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
At least 450 indigenous people have died in custody since the release of the commission’s report.
“It is not a broken system,” said Wurundjeri woman Sue-Anne Hunter, “it is a system that works exactly how it was set out to work.”
These deaths are far from historic events, and protestors were furious that there had been five deaths in custody of first nations people in March alone.
Families of Nathan Reynolds, Warren Cooper, Ms Duu, Tanya Louise Day spoke about how their relatives are not just statistics; they are human beings who have died unjustly.
“We will not bend for the coloniser no more,” a family spokesperson said.
Another group of families came up with a list of 10 demands they want the government to enact. Apryl Day stated there must be an independent investigative body to enquire into all deaths in custody.
The families also want “grassroots solutions”, which involve consulting Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people about law and order issues, as they know what is best for their communities.
Lidia Thorpe, an Australian politician who was also at the Melbourne rally, questioned if these “colonisers” had consent from the first nations to lower their flag in honour of Prince Philip’s death.
“This country is standing knee-deep in blood,” another speaker said.
Crowds chanted “No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police.” whilst waving their signs at passing police officers as they marched their way through the city towards Flinders street.
The crowd mourned the victims with a minute of silence held at the end of the rally.
“It’s sophisticated genocide that continues to annihilate the first people of this country.”