Hundreds rally against Black deaths in custody

April 4, 2009

Members of the Aboriginal community were joined by construction and manufacturing unionists at a 350-strong protest on April 3 to bring an end to deaths of Aboriginal people in custody.

The rally tapped into a widespread sense of outrage about the January 2008 death of Warburton elder Mr Ward, who died while being transported in the back of a privately run prison van. It was a four-hour journey on a 42°C day.

A coronial inquest heard the air conditioning was not working, and the drivers did not check on Mr Ward until very late in the trip. Speakers at the rally argued that no white person would have been treated that way.

The march proceeded to justice minister Christian Porter's office. For two weeks protest organisers, the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, had been attempting to secure a meeting with Porter, but their requests were denied.

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