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Elders urge peaceful protests against custody deaths

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 4 December 2004

Aboriginal elders are urging peaceful protests over the death in police custody of 36-year-old Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island in north Queensland.

About 200 people met in Townsville today.

They discussed plans to protest in support of about 20 men, who were arrested over last week's riot on the island.

The riot was sparked by the death.

Palm Island Elder Renata Pryor says it is now time for calm.

"Everyone here today had fire in their stomach," she said.

"But as a mother of one of those boys, and a grandmother, I've got a volcano inside of me.

"I'm trying to keep the peace with everybody because we are all under the one God and we need to come together as one."

The meeting has also called on Australians to help address the issue of deaths in custody.

Meeting organiser Florence Onus says it is an issue that affects all Australians.

"We just want to basically walk in support of the Doomadgee family and all the other people who have lost sons and daughters in black deaths in custody," she said.

"There are a lot of white people dying in custody as well."

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