“In solidarity with Elijah’s family, his community and Kalgoorlie, we stand in protest” was the call by the Aboriginal group Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT), which organised a rally of about 300 people at the Supreme Court in Sydney on July 24. It was one of a series of protest rallies around the country.
Wiradjuri elder Aunty Jenny Munro asked: “Where is the national outcry for this innocent 14-year-old boy? Where is the justice for the death of an innocent child? There is no justice for a murdered Aboriginal child.
“How many of our young people have to be sacrificed before this racist system is defeated?”
Spokesperson for the Justice for Ms Dhu Campaign Shaun Harris said: “A 14-year-old Black child was blatantly run over. This is what we are up against over there. White privilege ensures there is no justice for Black people in this country.”
Meyne Wyatt, a member of Elijah’s family, said: “Let’s get this straight. It wasn't manslaughter. It was murder. I myself have been chased by white people in cars in Kalgoorlie. This was not manslaughter, not reckless driving, but murder.”
Uncle Albert Archer mourned “another young warrior taken from our country so cruelly. Australia is, and always has been, a terrorist state over its treatment of Aboriginal people.
“We need to come together as one to fight these injustices. We need a united front of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Let’s stand together as one.”
One protester threw red ochre on the steps of the Supreme Court building as she cried: “This is the blood of Aboriginal people. The blood is on the Commonwealth.” She was followed by many protesters dipping their hands in the powder and pressing them against the window of the court.
They covered the glass in red handprints and wrote “murder” and “Justice for Elijah” on the window.
Fifty people, many of whom came from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and from local Aboriginal communities and supporters, protested at Garema Place on July 24 against the three-year sentence handed to the white man.
Speakers from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy pointed to the outrage and demand for answers over the shooting death by police of an Australian woman in the US compared to the indifference over Elijah’s death. They also pointed to the long history of Aboriginal deaths in custody at the hands of police and by vigilantes, as well as the lack of punishment given to the perpetrators.
The disproportionate numbers of Indigenous people sent to prison and the number of Indigenous children taken from their parents by authorities was also raised.
Speakers demanded that Indigenous people be treated equally and to have the right to the resources on their lands and to live without the fear of molestation.
The lively rally marched down the central City Walk, stopping briefly outside the ACT Legislative Assembly, heard from ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur, and marched on to the ACT Supreme Court.