Australians rally against youth detention abuses

Hundreds demonstrate in major Australian cities to protest against alleged mistreatment of teens in detention centres.

    Australians have rallied against the alleged mistreatment of young people in detention, including the hooding and physical restraint of teenagers, amid calls for an inquiry into the abuse to be expanded.

    Earlier this week, Australian television aired graphic footage showing six Aboriginal boys being stripped naked, tear-gassed, held in solitary confinement and shackled to a chair as a restraint measure.

    The video shocked the country and prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to order a royal commission into how youths were treated at the Don Dale Centre in the Northern Territory in 2014 and 2015.

    But at snap "emergency protests" in Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere on Saturday, hundreds gathered to show their outrage at the mistreatment of the boys.

    CCTV footage from the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre shows a boy hooded and strapped to a mechanical chair  [EPA]

    "If we could see some action, some real fair and just action taken, I think that would allay some concern," Sydney community elder Aunty Jenny Munro told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    WATCH: Aboriginals feel ignored by Australian government

    But there have been calls for the royal commission to be expanded beyond the Northern Territory, given concerns about physical and emotional abuse in youth detention centres in other states.

    Opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten said his party fully supported the inquiry but argued that it should also have indigenous commissioners.

    "This royal commission has to be with Aboriginal people, not to Aboriginal people," he told reporters in the northern city of Darwin.

    "I believe it would be appropriate for the royal commission to have two co-commissioners who are Aboriginal Australians, strong people, men and women, who can make sure the voices and the experiences of Aboriginal Australians are given full justice in this royal commission."

    Indigenous young people aged 10-17 were 17 times as likely to be under Australia's youth justice supervision, according to data gathered by the Reuters news agency. They were also 28 times as likely to be detained.

    READ MORE: Australian Aboriginal's death in custody investigated

    Nigel Scullion, Australia's minister for indigenous affairs, has since apologised for not being aware of the what went on at the Don Dale centre. 

    One barrister described the treatment of some teenagers at the facility as reminiscent of Guantanamo Bay, the notorious US military prison in Cuba. 

    "I'm sorry I wasn't aware of the full circumstances that were exposed this week," Scullion said.

    WATCH: New report paints bleak picture for indigenous Australians

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months