• Protesters hold signs during a rally calling for the end of Indigenous deaths in custody in Sydney. (AAP)
Speakers included family members whose loved ones died in prison, called for justice as hundred brave Sydney’s cold weather.
By
Rangi Hirini

14 May 2018 - 11:26 AM  UPDATED 14 May 2018 - 12:15 PM

Despite the cold weather, hundreds turned out to march against Indigenous deaths in custody in a rally organised by FIRE (Fighting In Resistance Equally).

First to speak was the mother of David Dungay, Leetona Dungay. David died while serving time behind bars at Long Bay Prison in 2016. According to the NSW Health Department report into his death, the 26-year-old was restrained and tranquilised by prison staff before his untimely death.

His mother described her son as a "great warrior".

“I don’t have my son here for Mother’s Day,” she said to the crowd.

“They took my son away, he’s a human being, what right do they have?”

Mrs Dungay wasn’t alone in her loss or her anger. The sister to Patrick Fisher, an Aboriginal man who died in February, was also there to speak.

She thanked the community for supporting her family over the recent months.

“Enough is enough… We’re humans,” Ms Fisher cried as she wiped her tears.

Mr Fisher died when he fell from the balcony at Waterloo Apartment near Redfern after police tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.

Long-time activist Ken Canning also addressed the crowd and spoke of being at similar protests 35 years ago.

“This is what’s happening in the ‘fair’ country,” he said.

“We have a song called ‘Advanced Australia Fair’ but it’s only fair if you have fair skin.”

Uncle Ken said the violence between First Nations' people and the police need to stop.

“I’ve had enough… It’s up to all of us to work together.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge also attended the event. He recently exposed a ‘secret list’ by the NSW Police which showed the police were targeting Aboriginal children.

The Suspect Target Management Program (STMP) singles out youth suspected of committing offences and places them on a special list. More than half of the hundreds of children on STMP are Aboriginal.

Mr Shoebridge slammed the justice system, labelling it ‘racist’, and said Indigenous people are the most incarcerated people on the planet.

“[This] deeply racist policy must end,” he said to the crowd.

The crowd’s chants were strong and loud as they yelled “No Justice, No Peace” and “Too Many Coppers, Not Enough Justice”.

Hundreds of city goers stopped in their tracks to witness the big gathering with some cheering protesters on and others joining them.

At one point, police tried to barricade the crowd but ended up allowing them to continue their protest as they made their way straight down Pitt Street Mall.

Organisers for the event said the rally was a success. 

"It really showed that our community is willing to stand up and fight! And that if we draw a line in the sand and say 'enough is enough'," Co-Spokesperson Gavin Stanbrook told NITV News in a statement. 

"Non-Indigenous people will support us, like the great solidarity we saw with today's turnout... State and Federal governments remain indifferent to the demands and suffering of families who've lost loved ones."

Mr Stanbrook said more protest and activism is needed to push back against the increasing number of Indigenous deaths in custody. 

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