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Palm Islanders claim police harassment

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 1 December 2004

Palm Islanders claim they are being harassed by north Queensland police after two local women were today charged over last Friday's violence, sparked by a death in custody.

The Palm Island women, aged 30 and 60, have been charged with riotous demolition of a building.

While the local community is being asked to remain calm by Aboriginal leaders off the island, Palm Island spokesman Brad Foster says that is difficult given today's arrests.

"People want reconciliation within Queensland or on Palm Island or in this country, things need to be evened out here and at the moment that isn't happening," Mr Foster said.

"Unlike the 16 men held in custody on similar charges, both women were granted bail to reappear in court in a fortnight."

Meanwhile, Aboriginal academic Boni Robertson is considering an offer from Maori activists to fly to Australia for a national day of action in response to the death in custody on Palm Island.

A march is also being planned for Brisbane later this month.

Ms Robertson told a Brisbane rally today supporters in New Zealand have offered to join in.

"We actually had a phone call last night from the Maori people in New Zealand saying if they if we need their support they're willing to offer it," she said.

"Three thousand Maoris marched on Parliament to make sure that their human rights are met and what their message is if we need them here they're willing to come over and support us."

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