#HandsOffAboriginalKids Protestors In Melbourne Were Removed By Police Overnight

Protestors occupied the intersection outside Flinders Street Station for more than twelve hours.

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Over 100 people demanding an end to the abuse of indigenous children in detention shut down one of the busiest intersections in Melbourne for more than 12 hours yesterday, before being physically removed by police in the early hours of this morning.

The peaceful protestors, whose numbers included four women who locked themselves inside a makeshift cage, occupied the corner of Flinders and Swanstons Street from early yesterday afternoon, with police closing the intersection to traffic.

The sit-in grew out of yesterday’s nationwide rallies organised by the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, which called for the closure of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the wake of a report on last Monday’s Four Corners that detailed the shocking abuse of teenage prisoners at the facility.

People arrived with food, water, tents, blankets and other supplies, as they prepared to camp out in the intersection overnight despite temperatures threatening to drop into single digits. The hashtag #handsoffaboriginalkids began trending on twitter, with people reportedly travelling from around the state to attend.

After maintaining a presence throughout the day, police reportedly left the intersection as evening fell, only to return at around 2am at which point they began physically removing people. Video posted online shows protestors chanting “shut down Don Dale” and joining arms around the cage. Eventually police managed to break through the crowd and cut the women loose with bolt cutters.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police told The Age that the protestors were removed “without incident,” and that no arrests had been made.

Yesterday’s protests, which attracted hundreds of people around the country, received international media coverage. Earlier on Saturday, a statement from the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said that the treatment of children in Don Dale “could amount to a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.”