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Riot not planned: Palm Is leaders

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 27 November 2004

Community leaders on Palm Island off north Queensland have rejected suggestions that Friday's riot was premeditated.

The community remains calm but tense, with police reinforcements sent to the island today.

The police station and courthouse were destroyed when residents went on a rampage, angered over the death of 36-year-old Cameron Doomadgee in police custody.

Nine people have now been charged with various offences in relation to the riot.

Police say he died after a scuffle, during which he and an officer fell onto concrete steps.

Queensland Police Commissioner, Bob Atkinson, today expressed concerns the violence on the island may have been planned.

"We believe that the water was turned off so there was an inability to fight the fire," Commissioner Atkinson said earlier today.

"As well, there were roadblocks put across the road to the airport, including ... a stolen council truck.

But Palm Island community councillor, Rosina Norman, says the riot was not planned.

"If it were, it would have happened from Monday because this started Monday," she said.

"We had a community meeting then the people went up to the police station and asked for the police to come out."

Premier Peter Beattie says the Crime and Misconduct Commission is investigating Mr Doomadgee's death.

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