Violent clashes between police and Aboriginal protesters in West Australian town

Anti-racism protesters in Kalgoorlie

There have been violent clashes between police and protestors in the Western Australian town of Kalgoorlie in response to the charging of a 55-year-old man with manslaughter over the death of a 14-year-old Aboriginal boy, Elijah Doughty. Twelve police officers were injured, dozens of Aboriginal people are expected to be arrested, police vehicles have been damaged and court house windows were smashed. "Media are calling it a riot. But one person’s riot is another person’s uprising,” wrote Chris Graham, an award-winning investigative journalist and expert on Aborigines.

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“On Tuesday, civil unrest reached breaking point in Kalgoorlie, WA, spilling into violent protests as emotional residents took a stand against racism,” reported a news service offered to more than 400 volunteer community radio stations across Australia.


“The Wire” quoted residents saying the chain of events are the result of an undercurrent of racism, which has been developing in the area for years.


The teenager was found dead next to a stolen motorcycle linked to the driver of the other vehicle involved in the two vehicle accident. Police allege the white man used his vehicle to strike Elijah, who police say was riding a stolen motorbike.


Aboriginal elders of the area are calling for change to improve the outlook for their young people. Among those trying to placate the crowds was elder Trevor Donaldson, who ran out between police and protesters.


Donaldson said he “felt there was a lot of raw anger, a lot of frustration"  and that he understood why the crowds reacted the way they did.


"We look at all these figures: high Aboriginal incarceration rate, high detention rate of our youth, high homelessness, high poverty, high suicide with our mob, high suspension rates in our schools, high deaths in custody, high unemployment, the list goes on. And you wonder why, we as a race of people, are feeling angry and frustrated?”


The police and courts systems discriminate severely against Aboriginal people. For an analysis I strongly recommend going here. "If you’re an Aboriginal person in WA – or in Australia for that matter – you can’t help but notice how much justice there is for white people, and how much injustice there is for black people. Whilst white people overwhelmingly get the benefit of the doubt and a presumption of innocence, Aboriginal people are particularly likely to be denied those basic principles. The riot in Kalgoorlie didn’t target cop cars and a courthouse as demonstrations of irrational mob violence. They were manifestations of long-standing, legitimate grievances."



Solidarity with Elijah and family


The walkers of Walkatjurra Walkabout are deeply saddened by the news of the young man that was murdered on the morning of the 29th August at Gribble Creek in Kalgoorlie. Since we heard the news we have shared messages and songs, offered support and walked in solidarity with the family and community of Kalgoorlie who are grieving the loss of Elijah Doughty.


Marcus McGuire, coming from Kalgoorlie has spoken to the walkers on the current situation, “the situation is not good and there will be more to come in the future if the culture of racism and violence continues”.


We learned that his 14th birthday was only the day before his life was taken. Elijah, a young community person was keen and chosen to go on the “return to country” camps this summer organised by Marcus McGuire. These camps are training young people to be youth leaders.


The disgusting comments coming through social media before the murder and now after the tragic event has shocked the whole nation and shown the deep racism that still runs through this country.


The Doughty family are obviously deeply saddened and are welcoming the whole community to come and pay their respects at Gribble Creek where the murder happened. This was one of Elijah’s favourite places where he rode is bike in his life cut way too short.


Walkatjuura walkabout is not only about stopping uranium mining it is also about coming together with Aboriginal people on country and acknowledging the history of genocide, violence and racism that is systemic in our culture and history today.


With heavy hearts we walk together with family and friends and the community of Kalgoorlie grieving the loss of the young person who was an up and coming youth leader and football star. We also walk remembering others that have lost their lives and the families that have lost loved ones to the racial violence of this country. We need this culture of racism to end, we need to stop these deaths and racial attacks on Aboriginal people and their community. This cannot continue.


Walkatjurra walkabout finishes the one month walk today in Leonora however we will continue the messages of solidarity when the bus arrives in Kalgoorlie on Tuesday and walk to Gribble Creek to pay our respects and show support to Elijah’s family and friends.



Elijah Doughty Funeral Fund to help Elijah Doughty's family pay for funeral and memorial costs. This funding is being administered by Tjuma Pulka Original Nations Media Corporation.