• Ms Dhu's grandmother (far left) marches with protesters in Geraldton as the regional town holds their own BLM rally for the Yamatji lives lost in custody. (Roni Jones: Yamaji art )Source: Roni Jones: Yamaji art
A peaceful protest was held in Geraldton the day after the Western Australian government passed reforms to the state’s fine default laws, a change prompted by the death of Yamatji woman Ms Dhu.
Rangi Hirini

18 Jun 2020 - 2:44 PM  UPDATED 18 Jun 2020 - 2:44 PM

Hundreds of Aboriginal people and their allies gathered in Geraldton for a peaceful demonstration, days after the Perth Black Lives Matter rally saw thousands flooding the streets.

The Geraldton rally was organised for Yamatjji people to stand up against Aboriginal deaths in custody, an issue that has taken 54 Aboriginal lives within the state of WA since 2008.  

On Wednesday around 200 people from diverse backgrounds gathered in front of the Geraldton courthouse and police station, located 4 hours north of Perth, before marching down the main street.

Last year the Yamatjji nation lost two women, Cherdeena Wynne and Joyce Clarke, in separate deaths in custody incidents.

Six years ago Yamatji woman Ms Dhu passed away at South Hedland police station following an arrested over unpaid fines.

The Geraldton rally took place the day after amendments to the state's fine default laws passed parliament, providing more alternative options for fine defaulters and making imprisonment for unpaid fines the last resort.

In attendance at the rally was the grandmother of Ms Dhu, Nanna Carol, who thanked protesters for coming out.  

Nanna Carol told NITV News she would have liked to see her granddaughter be recognised more in the amendments to the fine default laws.

"It's good hope for the next kids or whoever got fines, you know. But like I said, literally, my granddaughter paid the ultimate price to get recognised," said Nanna Carol.

"So why not [name the bill after Ms Dhu], she paid the ultimate price, why can't they name it after her?" she said.

Ms Dhu's grandmother said she hopes the global Black Lives Matter movement brings long-term change.

"Genocide has never left us. My ancestors went through it, I'm going through it, and now my kids are going through it. It's devastating, and with Black Lives Matter I can hope something changes there. I really pray for that," she said.

Police arrest protesters during Black Lives Matter rally in Brisbane
Among the arrested protesters was prominent Indigenous rights activist and Aboriginal elder Wayne Wharton.