Protests demand: Free Lex Wotton


On November 1, rallies took place in eastern states in response to the conviction of Lex Wotton, who has been charged with "riot with destruction" (see article on page 3).

In Melbourne, 100 people rallied, demanding Wotton's release and an end to all Aboriginal deaths in custody. The protest also demanded that senior sergeant Chris Hurley, who was acquitted of charges of manslaughter following the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, be jailed.

Speakers included Robbie Thorpe, who urged people to stand up to the racism present in Australia: "Evil things happen when good people do nothing."

The march proceeded to the Flinders Lane police station, where Socialist Alliance speaker Sue Bolton congratulated the Palm Island Aboriginal community for bringing the injustice of Mulrunji's death at the hands of policeman Chris Hurley to light through their courageous actions and protests.

In Brisbane, an angry, spirited 300-strong rally demanded that Wotton be freed and a new Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody be held. After a march to parliament, a petition containing these demands was presented.

The rally heard plans of a picket outside the Townsville police station on November 3, as the police who terrorised the Palm Island community receive their "bravery" award.

In Sydney, at a forum organised by the Sydney Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), six Aboriginal activists from around the country condemned Wotton's conviction and the ongoing intervention into remote Indigenous communities into the Northern Territory.

Speakers at the forum, which was attended by 70 people, were Pat Eatock (Sydney ARC), Nala Mansell and Jim Everett (from Tasmania), Ray Jackson (Indigenous Social Justice Association) and Lyall Munro (Free Lex Wotton campaign). Greens Sydney City councillor Irene Doherty also addressed the forum.

All speakers condemned the Rudd Labor government for continuing the racist policies of the previous Howard Coalition government. They also condemned conservative Aboriginal individuals such as Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton and Warren Mundine for supporting these policies.

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