Justice For Don Dale

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By Mariam Tengbeh:

Emotions ran high as an emergency rally was called at Sydney Town Hall demanding justice for the children tortured in Don Dale Correctional Centre.

This came after the shocking footage shown on the ABC Four Corners program, of Aboriginal children being tortured in Don Dale.

The video footage blew the lid on systematic child abuse across the country.

Following broadcast of the footage, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that a Royal Commission into the centre will be conducted.

With already countless inquiries conducted into policies that breach the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the rally demanded immediate justice.

Aboriginal support worker Ken Canning, who played a role in organising the rally, said “it’s a response to the atrocities that Indigenous people face everyday”

“Since the story broke out both sides of politics on state and federal level have continually lied about their knowledge of institutionalised torture and maltreatment of indigenous youths.”

Protesters asked that all prison guards responsible should be charged and sacked.

“It’s a series of national rallies that will take place. We don’t want this issue to go away until the government takes full responsibility and brings justice. We are not letting this one go untouched,” Mr Canning said.

Guest speaker Aunty Jenny Munro gave an emotional speech saying “We need to know who our enemies are and fight them together; our enemies are this racist government and the system”.

As promised, the rally remained peaceful with 1500 people in attendance, and it couldn’t have come at a better time following the Black Lives Matter rally on July 16.

Less than a fortnight earlier, a group of young activists stood in solidarity with the US to lead the Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney CBD and Melbourne.

The Twitter hashtag #blacklivesmatter has become a genuine political force demanding an end to racism in Australian society.

Organiser Enoch Mailangi recalled the struggle he endured organising the Black Lives Matter rally.

“The whole week the police called us telling us to cancel the rally and we were worried that if we went ahead we could be arrested,” he said.
With alleged police intimidation and death threats the rally successfully attracted over 2,000 people in Sydney and an additional 3,000 in Melbourne.

Organiser Keshia Gibson talked about her experience as a coloured women.

“One death is a tragedy but two deaths is a crisis and I was absolutely disgusted that our ancestors fought hard and long for our rights yet still today, in 2016, the twenty first century, we are still having this conversation.

“The rally had many opponents saying ‘this isn’t America’ or ‘stop trying to bring this problem to our peaceful country’  and this disturbed me because the First Nations people of Australia the Aboriginal people have suffered, to date, 560 deaths in custody which are not given any light or media attention” she said.

Aboriginal rights activist Pip Hinman from Green Left Weekly hoped that the rally would have an effect on the wider Australian population and would encourage people to stop sweeping Indigenous issues under the rug and to stand up for what is right and to demand change and justice.

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