Thousands rally to protest indigenous deaths in custody

Protestors in the Melbourne rally marking the national day of action against Aboriginal deaths in custody (Photo: Jack Murray)

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.

Black Lives Matter sign showing the amount of Aboriginal deaths in police custody (Photo: Jack Murray)

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.

Hundreds gather at Parliament House in Melbourne (Photo: Jack Murray)

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.

Protestors calling for governments to take action in Melbourne (Photo: Jack Murray)

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.”