• Hundreds of protestors marched from the Sisters Inside conference to the Queensland Police headquarters. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Hundreds of protesters have marched on Queensland Police headquarters in Brisbane after a rousing speech from US political activist Angela Davis.
Ella Archibald-Binge

16 Nov 2018 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2018 - 4:31 PM

Protesters marched to Queensland Police headquarters on Friday, stopping traffic in Brisbane's busy Roma Street business precinct.

The group entered the police building chanting the names of First Nations people who've died in police custody, before later smearing ochre on the exterior of the building as a representation of the blood spilled at the hands of police.

"We’re going to shut it down," activist Ruby Wharton told NITV News before the protest.

"We’re going to put our handprints on their walls and make sure that this [is] accountability for our lives being stolen, our oppression, our struggles – we’re going to make our voices heard today."

The impromptu protest was held following a powerful speech from prominent US political activist Angela Davis, who gave the keynote address at the Sisters Inside conference a few blocks from Queensland Police headquarters.

Hosted by prisoner advocacy group Sisters Inside, the three-day conference promotes the abolition of prisons, and featured a host of speakers with lived prison experience.

On the final day of the conference, Professor Davis told the crowd she was "shocked" on her first trip to Australia to discover that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were locked up at a higher rate than the black population in the USA. 

"It’s important to understand that racism underlies so many of these issues," she said in her address. 

"Racism is the most powerful force that drives the soaring prison populations."

In a wide-ranging speech that touched on gender violence, institutionalised racism and capitalism, Professor Davis challenged listeners to imagine a society without prisons. 

"What would it take to create a society where we all feel like we truly belong? We begin with women’s prisons and we realise that this struggle is actually about revolution, it is about changing the world," she said to a standing ovation. 

Professor Davis then joined protesters as they marched on the police headquarters. 

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