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9 charged over Palm Island riot

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

Nine men have been charged over yesterday's riot on Palm Island in north Queensland.

The situation remains tense, with police reinforcements hoping to prevent a repeat of the violence, which left the community's police station and courthouse destroyed.

Hundreds of angry residents went on a destructive rampage on Friday after it was revealed 36-year-old Cameron Doomagee, who died in police custody, had a suffered a ruptured liver and broken ribs.

Police say Mr Doomagee died after a scuffle with police during which he and an officer fell onto concrete steps.

Police late today charged nine men - aged between 26 and 54 - with offences including arson, assaulting police and wilful damage.

They are expected to appear in court in Townsville on Monday.

Queensland Police Minister Judy Spence says reinforcements have been sent and public servants and some residents have been removed.

"People who have wanted or have chosen to be evacuated have been put on barges or on planes and have left the island," she said.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has called on island councillors to show stronger leadership to help bring peace to the troubled island.

The Premier says the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) is investigating the death.

The Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson, today expressed concerns the riot was pre-meditated.

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