Photos: Police shut down Melbourne occupation demanding Don Dale be shut down

Issue 

Photos by Louise Chen

The Melbourne rally for justice for the children in the Youth Detention Centre occupied the Flinders St intersection, effectively shutting it down and blocking city traffic into the early hours of the morning, when police moved in.

Organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) several hundred Aboriginal rights activists gathered for the rally at the State Library on Saturday July 30.

Meriki Onus from WAR told the rally “Shut down these centres! Release Dylan Voller!”

At 3pm the rally marched to the Flinders and Swanston St intersection, where four women from WAR chained themselves to the inside of a make-shift cage to start the occupation. Vowing to stay locked on until the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre is shut down and Dylan Voller released.

About one hundred protestors joined in occupying the intersection.

A call was put out on social media for support.

Gazebos and tents began going up at 9pm as more people came down to give support such as bringing hot drinks and food, playing music and donating sleeping bags.

Photos by Chelsea Dennison

Placards on the cage read, “Children's lives matter”, “Don Dale = guilty”, “release or riot”, “Hands off Aboriginal kids now” and “Stop Aboriginal deaths and torture in custody now.”

After locking onto the cage for 11 hours, several police officers moved in at 2am and forcibly removed the women and then dismantled the cage while activists surrounded them and chanted: “Shut down Don Dale.”

Organisers thanked all the protestors for their support and solidarity during the occupation and vowed to be back for more protests to shut down Don Dale.

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