Justice for Mulrunji Rallies, Wed Dec 20 2006 - Palm Island, Townsville, Brisbane rally news round-up
WARNING - stories linked to may have pictures of Mulrunji. The section on THIS page of the Brisbane rally has a photo of Mulrunji's nephews holding photos of Mulrunji. Stories linked to may also use Mulrunji's previous names.
Palm Island Rally
Senator Andrew Bartlett was at the Palm Island rally - click here for his report.
Rachelle Chapman in The Townsville Bulletin reports:
THE Doomadgee family snubbed Premier Peter Beattie's offer to meet with them one on one yesterday, labelling it a waste of time.
Family members – including Mulrunji's sisters Elizabeth and Claudelle – attended the rally yesterday but refused to speak to media, choosing to let their solicitor speak on their behalf.
Solicitor Frederic Cassis said the family felt Mr Beattie had let them and the entire community down.
Mr Cassis said Mr Beattie's move to ask Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare to seek an independent review of her decision not to charge Snr-Sgt Hurley was not good enough.
Ms Chapman also reports:
THE Palm Island community reacted angrily but without violence to Premier Peter Beattie's visit yesterday.
The Premier stopped short of ordering an independent review into Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare's decision not to bring charges against police officer Sen-Sgt Chris Hurley.
But he said he would encourage her to 'get another opinion'.
Peter Michael, the (Brisbane) Courier-Mail's North Queensland reporter, says:
PREMIER Peter Beattie flew into a torrent of abuse yesterday when he faced the people of Palm Island over the death in custody of local man Mulrunji.
Islanders shouted abuse and expressed disbelief as Mr Beattie told a 400-strong crowd gathered in the island's town square he refused to order an independent review into the man's death.
"It is not my decision," Mr Beattie told the angry gathering.
Peter Michael also says:
Four sisters of the victim and his grieving partner Tracey Twaddle quietly stood up and unfurled a sign which said "Chris Hurley: guilty and he is the only one who knows it."
Sister Victoria Doomadgee said: "We still love our brother so much. Why can't they help?"
Cosima Marriner says, in The Age:
ALP federal president Warren Mundine vowed to start an anti-apartheid-style campaign to ensure justice for Aboriginal people.
He said Mr Beattie had left the Palm Island community "with nothing". "When you come here and say you can't do a thing, then you must accept the cynicism and disbelief of the community," Mr Mundine said. "You are a leader and you need to do something because this will fester on. Justice needs to be done."
Ian Gerard in The Australian says:
QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie was shouted down and abused by an angry mob on Palm Island yesterday, as riot police flown in for the rally prepared for an outbreak of violence in the troubled Aboriginal community.
Mr Beattie was accused of bribery when he told the 400-strong crowd he could not overturn the decision not to charge the policeman held responsible for the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, but that he had the funding to build a new diversionary centre.
Sky News also reported on Premier Beattie's visit to Palm Island.
Selina Sharratt in the Townsville Bulletin reports:
UP to 1500 people marched peacefully through the streets of Townsville's CBD yesterday, protesting against the denial of justice in the Mulrunji...case.
In what has been described as one of the biggest marches to take to Townsville streets, traditional dances and ceremonies were staged outside the city's courthouse and police station before marchers gathered at Central Park to listen to a range of speakers.
Roberta Mancuso in The Australian quotes Townsville rally organiser Florence Onus:
...Mr Beattie, Ms Clare and Police Minister Judy Spence should all resign.
"We're asking that an independent inquiry occur in relation to the DPP and how she came to the conclusion of not charging Snr Sgt Hurley,'' Ms Onus said.
"We're also calling for the resignation of Peter Beattie because in the time that he's been premier he has not implemented the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
"If he had done that we would not be here today.''
Click here to see my pictures from the Brisbane rally. I will build this into a full report.
You can also see my pictures from the rally at flickr, the photo-sharing site.
You can also see seven photos from the rally here at FelixNavidad's flickr site.
Dave Riley of the Ratbag Radio Network has written a report on the rally - click here.
Margaret Wenham of the Courier-Mail reports that Alec Doomadgee, Mulrunji's brother, spoke at the Brisbane rally:
When the cousin of Mulrunji, Alec Doomadgee, took centre stage, the crowd roared their approval as he declared it was time for Aborigines to "stop playing the poor bugger me blackfella".
"Stand up and be counted," he shouted.
"It's time for us Aboriginal people to unite. We need to come together as an Aboriginal nation and stand up for our people ... and stop the injustices that have been happening for so long," he shouted.
Wenham also reports that Queensland Council for Civil Liberties VP Terry O'Gorman said:
"Day in and day ... ordinary citizens of this state have to go through to the agony of a jury verdict in cases prosecuted by the DPP where the evidence is 10 times weaker than the evidence appears with Mr Hurley."
Apparently, an Australian flag was burnt, and comedian Ernie Dingo was at the Brisbane rally.
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