Gold Coast - An
Aboriginal man whose abuse in custody shocked Australia tried to
throttle himself in the back of a police van following angry protests at
the Commonwealth Games on Friday.
Police said Dylan Voller, whose mistreatment in juvenile detention
triggered a national inquiry, tied part of his T-shirt around his neck
and was gasping for air before he was cut free.
Voller, 21, was one of five activists who were arrested during
Friday's confrontation with a heavy police presence, the latest in a
series of protests during the Games.
"(Police) found that the individual had actually torn part of his
T-shirt and tied it around his neck and tied a knot and appeared to be
grasping for air and choking as a result of that," police assistant
commissioner Brian Codd said.
Police stopped the van and used a penknife to cut through the
material, Codd said. Voller received medical attention under police
custody but is not in a serious condition.
"My fear is that if they hadn't of done that we could have had a very, very serious outcome," Codd said.
Voller and four others were arrested after dozens of indigenous
activists attempted to disrupt a live TV broadcast on a beach at Gold
Coast, the Games' host city.
They chanted "No Games, no justice!" as they were blocked by a heavy
police presence who stopped them marching to the scene of the TV
Protesters who have dubbed the event the "Stolenwealth Games" have
staged a number of demonstrations including at the opening ceremony,
where three people were arrested in clashes with police.
The treatment of Voller became the focus of public outrage after
footage was broadcast of prison guards assaulting mostly indigenous boys
in the Northern Territory, including stripping them naked and using
Images released in 2015 showed Voller, then 17, hooded and shackled
to a mechanical restraint chair and left alone for two hours.
It prompted a Royal Commission into treatment of children in
detention, which last year made multiple recommendations, including the
immediate closure of the Don Dale detention centre in which Voller was
Aboriginal culture stretches back tens of thousands of years but
indigenous people are now the most disadvantaged in Australia, with
higher rates of poverty, ill-health and imprisonment than any other