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Townsville bishop to join hundreds at protest rally

Up to 800 people including Catholic Bishop Michael Putney and other church leaders are expected to march through the streets of Townsville today to protest against Aboriginal deaths in custody and call for equity, truth and justice.

The Townsville Bulletin reports that protesters will march through the north Queensland city's streets on a 3.5 km route, passing the police station and other government buildings, before a rally at Central Park in the inner city.

An organiser of the peace march, Kanat Wano, a member of Townsville's indigenous justice group, said his community wants to call for calm and an end to the "hatred" of recent weeks seen on nearby Palm Island.

He said Aboriginal leaders are also calling for a unified stance by indigenous people to call for equity, truth and justice.

"We want non-indigenous Australians to work with us and show support," he said.

The church leaders will be joined by representatives from unions and migrant and women's groups, who are all calling for an end to the hatred and violence.

Police have flown in officers from the Public Safety Response Team in the wake of rumours protesters from Redfern in Sydney - the scene of violent police clashes this year - were attending the event.

A group of 80 indigenous elders will act as marshalls during the march.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has asked for the march to be conducted in a "peaceful way".

A riot erupted Palm Island on 26 November after local man Cameron Doomadgee died in police custody.

Hundreds to protest at rally (Townsville Bulletin/AAP 9/12/04)

Palm Island Council
Bwgcolman Community School, Palm Island
National Day of Action 11 Dec 04
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission)
Catholic Diocese of Townsville

ommission supports Palm Island Community (CathNews 8/12/04)
Nun sees African-style fear in Palm Islanders (CathNews 30/11/04)

Callous Aussies have attitude problem (Online Catholics 8/12/04)
Aboriginal leader calls for calm (The Courier Mail 9/12/04)
Commission Supports Palm Island Community (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 6/12/04)

9 Dec 2004