• Don Dale Youth Detention Centre (SBS Vietnamese)
Thousands of Australians have marched in protest against the alleged child abuse in Northern Territory juvenile detention centres.
Source:
AAP
30 Jul 2016 - 7:18 PM 

Thousands of Australians have rallied against the alleged abuse of Aboriginal children in Northern Territory juvenile detention and how the scandal is being handled.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week announced a royal commission after the ABC showed footage of boys being stripped naked, tear-gassed and held in solitary confinement at Darwin's Don Dale detention centre.

The rallies, held in capitals and major cities country-wide on Saturday, also touched on a lack of indigenous consultation over the royal commission's terms of reference.

"The NT government ... is part of the problem and cannot be trusted to investigate themselves," Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyer Matthew Bonson said.

He also said the royal commission needed to take "a forensic look into racism and outdated, closed-minded attitudes in addition to child protection, detention, health and welfare".

Protests in Melbourne shut down traffic outside Flinders Street Station as some demonstrators sat in a make-shift cage.

Cries of "shame, shame" were heard in Adelaide, as others gathered at Brisbane's Queen Street Mall and on the front steps of Sydney's Town Hall to voice their concerns.

The Townsville Human Rights Committee expanded its protest to cover Australia's offshore detention program.

"All forms of abuse against children is a breach of their human rights," it said in a statement.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten offered his unwavering support for a royal commission into the claims and called for the Prime Minister to appoint two Aboriginal co-commissioners.

"My vision of Australian justice is not to see a 14-year-old boy hooded, restrained and strapped to a chair," he said on Saturday.

He stopped short of naming those he thinks would be good for the job, saying he didn't want the government to play partisan politics with his suggestions.