STORY: The protest was held in solidarity with the Northern Territory’s Yuendumu community, who called for a National Day of Action on June 18, demanding a police ceasefire and an end to intervention powers.
Australia’s intervention into remote indigenous communities began in 2007, when the John Howard government sent police and troops to the Northern Territory and made special bans on alcohol and pornography - to stamp out alleged widespread child sex-abuse fueled by chronic alcoholism. Subsequent governments retained many of the measures of the initial policy.
The protest also comes after a Northern Territory police officer was acquitted of murder charges over the shooting of a 19 year old Yuendumu man in March.
Australia’s 700,000 or so indigenous people, who trace their roots back 65,000 years before British colonialists arrived, track near the bottom of its 25 million citizens on almost every economic and social indicator.
Denied the vote until the mid-1960s, indigenous people face a 10-year gap in life expectancy compared with other Australians and make up 30% of the prison population. Aboriginal deaths in police custody have been a problem for years despite a Royal Commission looking into the issue since 1991.