Saturday, April 16, 2016
150 people rallied at the Stirling Gardens and then marched through the streets of Perth in protest against ongoing Black deaths in custody in Australia.
The rally commemorated 25 years since the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody made 339 recommendations which have been largely ignored in the quarter century since.
Over 355 Aboriginal people have died in custody since the Royal Commission presented its findings.
Jennifer Clayton attended the rally who lost her son Warren who died "as a result of a death in custody" in the Albany lockup.
"The two police officers involved actually pleaded guilty to their negligence," Clayton told Green Left, however, they received only minor consequences.
Rally chairperson Paul Kaplan highlighted the high rate of Aboriginal incarceration. He said this was due to "racism, discrimination, inter-generational trauma, poverty and homelessness".
Socialist Alliance senate candidate Seamus Doherty attended the rally and told Green Left that some of the Aboriginal deaths in Custody occurred in "dubious circumstances" that amount to "murder" by police.
However, he said that deaths in custody could be virtually eliminated by implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda asked the rally: "Did Ms Dhu deserve to die because of unpaid fines? Did Mr Ward deserve to die because of drink driving? Did Mr Doomadgee on Palm Island deserve to die because of being drunk on the streets?
"Our people are doing more time than anyone else in this country." He also called for the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations.
Two die-ins were held on the march which was organised by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee.
[This article by Alex Bainbridge first appeared in Green Left online April 15, 2016. Photos and video by Alex Bainbridge.]