By Dave Donaghy
January 10, 2007 05:31pm
ABORIGINAL activist Murrandoo Yanner has warned of a domino-effect of unrest and bloodshed in indigenous centres following a riot in the north Queensland community of Aurukun. An angry mob of around 200 people last night rampaged through the Cape York community forcing police officers, their families and Aboriginal elders to seek refuge in the police station. Mr Yanner said he was not surprised by the Aurukun riot and warned worse was yet to come.
He said the riot was another sign of souring relations between police and members of indigenous communities in the fall-out from the death in-custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004. "This is a sure sign of things to come, not just in the Cape York and lower Gulf, but throughout Australia,'' he said. "Aurukun is certainly just the second ship to flood. I think it's going to get worse for both sides. "I can see a police officer being severely injured and one of us getting shot.
"Now, in no way am I encouraging violence, but I can understand and sympathise, and relate to it.'' Mr Yanner said indigenous Australians remained incensed by the Director of Public Prosecutions decision last month not to charge Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over Mulrunji's death. The decision by DPP head Leanne Clare was made in the face of the state deputy coroner's findings that Snr Sgt Hurley inflicted the fatal blows that killed Mulrunji. Last night's riot was triggered by allegations that a man had been injured in police custody - a claim which is now being investigated.
"I don't know what happened to the bloke arrested at Aurukun, but even if it was nothing, they don't trust them because of what's happened on Palm and that's where the trouble starts,'' Mr Yanner said. "These are the chicks that have hatched from (Premier Peter) Beattie's disregard for Aboriginal people.'' Mr Yanner said a return to customary law was the only way Aboriginal communities could turn their present plight around. He said additional police officers only served to enrage the communities further. An extra nine officers from Brisbane flew into Aurukun today to bolster the 40 police already in the troubled centre. Acting Cairns District Officer Superintendent Katarina Carroll said police did not envisage trouble arising in other indigenous communities as a direct result of the Aurukun riot. "Not at all,'' she said. "At this stage we haven't seen it impact elsewhere.''
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Dave Donaghy