Drop the charges against Lex Wotton

Stop The Racist Political Persecution of A Palm Island Aboriginal Hero!

Defend The Right to Oppose Racist State Brutality!

Drop The Charges against Lex Wotton!

On November 2004 the Palm Island Aboriginal community responded to years of racist state violence and the death in police custody of Mulrunji with a defiant demonstration demanding justice. The immediate trigger for the protest was the release of the first state inquiry into Mulrunji's death which, while noting that his liver had been ruptured, whitewashed the death as being the result of a 'scuffle.' Finally, almost two years after the death a second Coronial inquiry confirmed what everyone already knew: that at the Palm Island police station Senior-Sergeant Chris Hurley had struck Mulrunji with such force that it caused the Aboriginal man to die.

 Four hundred people took part in the 2004 Palm Island anti-racist action - over 10% of the entire island's population! The large demonstration marched upon the centres of racist injustice on the island -- the police station and courthouse. Queensland authorities responded with vicious repression (the QLD Tactical Response Group armed with taser and machine guns) and singled out individuals for persecution. The state continues to target respected Palm Island man Lex Wotton who they allege was the leader of the protest. They have outrageously singled out Wotton with a 'riot' charge that could lead to a jail sentence in excess of ten years.

Far from being a 'riot,' the November 2004 protest was a completely justified act of anti-racist resistance. The struggle, like the Redfern resistance nine months earlier, brought the question of state racism in Australia to national and international prominence. It was a big factor in why in this one case from Palm Island (unlike in hundreds of earlier black deaths in custody) a policeman who was responsible for the death of a black person in custody had to face court: the first policeman to face trial over the killing of an Aboriginal person in the entirety of this country's colonial history! The fact that the courts acquitted Hurley (and that the QLD government secretly gave him over $102,000 in 'damages'!) is once again confirmation of how stacked the legal system is against black people and how justified it was for the people of Palm Island to stand up to the institutions of this racist system in November 2004.

The state's attempts to jail Lex Wotton are aimed at intimidating all future opposition to racist persecution. Today, governments are trying to scare people away from responding to the whitewash of Mulrunji's killing. They want to frighten people away from resisting Australia-wide racist police brutality towards Aboriginal people and want to discourage strong opposition towards the discriminatory welfare restrictions that target Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory - and increasingly throughout the whole country. The subjugation of Aboriginal people is an extreme form of the repression that the authorities are also unleashing against trade unionists who stand up for workers' rights. The ABCC construction industry police are spying on and intimidating CFMEU construction union members and continue to initiate jail-carrying charges against individual union activists.

The Townsville Indigenous Human Rights Group is asking for your support in our demand to drop all charges against Lex Wotton. 

We the undersigned would like to express our support for the heroic anti-racist action undertaken by Lex Wotton in November 2004 and request that all charges against him be dropped. 
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