Australia protest over death of aboriginal teen turns violent
Violent clashes have broken out between Australian police and a group of demonstrators protesting the death of an aboriginal teenager in the country.
On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the courthouse building in the city of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, before the appearance of a 55-year-old man charged with the manslaughter of Elijah Doughty, 14.
Angry protesters pelted the courthouse building with rocks and bottles, smashing windows and damaging cars.
The courthouse was placed in lockdown and its staff were evacuated.
Several people were also arrested while trying to force their way into the courthouse. A dozen police officers also sustained injuries during the scuffles.
The incident comes at a time when mistreatment of aboriginal inmates in Australian prisons has come to the fore after the recent release of a video clip from the Don Dale Youth Detention Center in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The footage, shot between 2010-2014, showed guards beating six teenage prisoners, tear-gassing them, throwing them into cells by the neck, covering their heads with hoods and strapping them naked or half-naked to special chairs.
The revelations prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to order the Royal Commission to launch a thorough investigation into the mistreatment of children in detention. He has, however, rejected calls for a broader national inquiry.
Local rights activists say UK-based Amnesty International had already warned Australian authorities about the abuse of minors in the Northern Territory prisons, adding that the government ignored the issue since the teens involved were indigenous.
Aborigines comprise three percent of Australia’s population, while they make up 27 percent of the prison population and 94 percent of teen inmates in the Northern Territory.
Australia’s nearly 700,000 indigenous citizens track near the bottom of almost every economic and social indicator for the country’s 23 million people.