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Court shown footage of Palm Is riot

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 14 April 2005

A court has been shown video footage of the Palm Island police station on fire and rocks being thrown at police during last year's riot at the north Queensland Aboriginal community.

A crowd of angry people burnt the police station and residence during the uprising last November.

The riot was the result of community anger about an Aboriginal death in custody.

Twenty-three people are facing committal proceedings in the Townsville Magistrates Court.

In video evidence, police were arming themselves with Glock handguns and semi-automatic weapons.

They were told they might have to fire a couple of rounds into the air to scare the crowd.

The officer-in-charge at Palm Island, Senior Sergeant Roger White testified it was an awful prospect that police might have to shoot anyone in those circumstances.

The tape showed rocks being hurled at police and Sen Sgt White negotiating with the alleged ringleader, Lex Patrick Wotton.

Sen Sgt White said at one stage a piece of concrete was thrown at him.

The case is now expected to continue for up to three months.

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