The #BlackLivesMatter movement in Australia is building incredible momentum, with hundreds of thousands of protesters marching across the country on Saturday – but the protests aren’t just out on the street. Prisoners in Sydney’s Long Bay Jail, where David Dungay was killed, have been protesting too.
There is an ongoing Black Lives Matter uprising at Long Bay Prison, NSW.
The (IAT) who killed David Dungay Jnr on 29/12/15 and the Riot Squad are deploying massive amounts of tear gas and other chemical weapons into the yards to break the resistance ~ so nobody can breathe. pic.twitter.com/RHNv9p1qMl
— Ashlee Donohue (@MissAshlee__) June 8, 2020
There’s been ongoing protests at Long Bay prison in NSW for the Black Lives Matter movement, but their treatment is starkly different from our own treatment out on the streets.
The Immediate Action Team (IAT) and the Riot Squad have been deploying obscene amounts of tear gas at close range in conditions where prisoners can’t escape – and the gassing has been so potent and concentrated that it’s actually affecting residents in nearby suburbs.
#BlackLivesMatter Aerial footage from Long Bay Gaol where guards have fired so much tear gas into inmates that nearby residents have been affected. Inmates managed to spell out BLM with towels and clothing. #ACAB pic.twitter.com/CWd37FKYX1
— Monique (@donManike) June 8, 2020
The ABC reported a bunch of residents getting burning sensations in their eyes and throats from streets away – with some children needing treatment. Imagine how it would’ve felt to be hit directly with the gas.
Local resident Leonie Stevens told the ABC she had never heard of tear gas being used in the 27 years she had been living in the area.
The use of tear gas in Long Bay jail is alarming to say the least – prison populations are really at risk of getting COVID-19 since they obviously can’t social distance and don’t have access to the same hygiene routines that we do. Tear gas distresses your respiratory system, exacerbating any risk to COVID-19 that is already there. Plus, we’re literally in the middle of flu season.
“Technically, tear gas is only a war crime when used against enemy combatants and not when used domestically against civilians, so the cops aren’t commiting war crimes” isn’t really making the argument you think it is.
— The Warlord of the Bug Зара (Vee/Vem/Veyr) ?? (@deathpigeon) June 2, 2020
I’ll remind you that tear gas is a banned chemical under the Geneva Convention. Using tear gas on enemy states is literally a war crime, yet for some reason we think it’s normal and acceptable to use it on vulnerable people in our country. Since when was using tear gas for crowd control okay, when it’s a toxic chemical that can actually kill?
The Abolitionist and Transformative Justice Centre, a group of lawyers, social workers and activists for Indigenous rights, have reported that the IAT and Riot squad were using attack dogs, “indiscriminate use of riot batons” and holding guns to the heads of already restrained prisoners.
The ABC has reported that a prisoner has been hospitalised with injuries from the dog bites.
The IAT at Long Bay jail are accused of being responsible for the killing of David Dungay after correctional officers allegedly held him down while he cried out “I can’t breathe.” The similarities between his death and George Floyd’s are striking, and a big wake up call for those who claim that Australia doesn’t have its own deeply embedded racism against Aboriginal people.
Since our country-wide protest for Black lives, the number of Aboriginal deaths in custody went up from 434 to at least 437. It’s only been 4 days.
Image Sources: Twitter