AROUND 50 people joined in a noisy rally outside Bathurst police station on Friday evening following a week of allegations of discrimination and police brutality.
The protest, organised through social media, followed a messy melee outside Bathurst Aquatic Centre last Saturday when two people – including a 13-year-old boy – were arrested by officers.
Facebook posts promoting the rally called it a Bathurst Aboriginal Protest and encouraged supporters to gather outside Bathurst police station at 5pm to protest for “justice for our people”.
Supporters were asked to come with “strength, respect and spirit”.
Protesters, including children, arrived with a number of home-placards with messages including “Stop The Police Brutality”, “History Repeating Itself”, “No Racism” and “One Blood, One Mob With Equal Rights”.
As the protesters marched towards the station they chanted, “What do want? Sorry. When do we want it? Now,” and continued chanting outside the police station until Chifley Police District commander Superintendent Paul McDonald came out to speak with them.
Tensions had been simmering for days following the incident at Bathurst Aquatic Centre.
Police had been called to the aquatic centre just after 6pm last Saturday after a complaint that children refused to leave the complex.
As officers investigated what had happened inside the pool, they allege a 32-year-old woman began verbally abusing them. The incident escalated when police allege she pushed an officer in the chest.
She was subsequently arrested and charged by police.
A short time later, the 13-year-old was arrested in the McDonald’s car park.
Following the incident allegations surfaced on social media that the teenager had been capsicum-sprayed but, having reviewed footage from the body-worn cameras of officers attending the incident, senior police said earlier in the week that there was no evidence of that occurring.
Supt McDonald told protesters outside Bathurst police station on Friday that he had spoken with Indigenous elders and people who were at the pool last Saturday and explained the complaint process to them.
He was cut off from speaking a number of times as protesters called out to him.
Supt McDonald said any complaint lodged would be investigated thoroughly and any action deemed appropriate would be taken.
He also said there was no information, other than allegations being levelled by the small group of protesters, that race had played any part in the incident.