Parliament House in Adelaide was covered in red hand prints on Wednesday as hundreds of protesters gathered in support of the Yuendumu community and to call for justice for Walpiri teenager Kumanjayi Walker. The prints mirrored those placed on the police station in Yuendumu and Alice Springs by his family and community in protest of his killing by police.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their allies listened as family members, including Mr Walker’s cousin Samara Fernandez spoke about their pain at the loss of their family member and anger at the way he and the community were treated.
“I was there that night, we came straight from our grandfather’s funeral. We went there for mourning, we didn’t think we’d need to mourn any more. At the crime scene, they’re (the police) standing there with big shotguns. Shame you mob, shame” Ms Fernandez said.
Other speakers called for an independent investigation into the killing and reminded those present of the high level of Indigenous incarceration and the unacceptably high toll of Aboriginal lives taken at the hands of police. The protest was led by Latoya Rule, whose brother Wayne Fella Morrison died at the hands of guards at Yatala Labour Prison in 2016. Earlier that day, Senior Walpiri man Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves told The Wire national current affairs program how Yuendumu community members were feeling following the death. “Yesterday we had a funeral, at around about 7.30. During that funeral we had one of our loved ones shot by the police. We were all completely shocked. Everybody was shocked. And we can not tolerate this kind of attitude. The police attitude, we can’t tolerate it” he said.
Mr Hargraves said that that police having guns in remote communities was a big concern.”The NT government allows police to use guns, like in America. We’re asking coroner not to have guns in remote communities not to have guns. We’re asking for that. We’re going to ask the Coroner to take away about the guns, to not wearing guns in remote communities” Mr Hargraves said. Overnight the Northern Territory Police announced that an officer had been charged with murder over the killing at Yuendumu.
By Lucy Kingston
SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.