Former Don Dale Youth Detention Centre detainee Dylan Voller and his mother, Joanne, have been arrested at a rally in Alice Springs.
Northern Territory Police confirmed the pair was apprehended after marching from the local courthouse on Friday to protest against youth prisons and Aboriginal deaths in custody.
The former teen inmate was tear-gassed, spit-hooded and shackled to a restraint chair while behind bars in a scandal that sparked the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Voller was taking part in a peaceful Shut Youth Prisons march when it turned violent after protestors marched from the courthouse to a busy intersection on the Stuart Highway, where police asked them to get off the road.
— Debbie Kilroy (@DebKilroy) September 29, 2017
Mr Voller’s sister, Kirra, was addressing the crowd at the time and said her brother and their mother were pushed to the ground and placed into paddy wagons.
NT Police confirmed the pair had been arrested. The ABC is reporting a total of six arrests.
In a Facebook post from inside the police watch house in Alice Springs, Dylan Voller apologised to sister Kirra.
The 20-year-old provided a running commentary on the rally for more than 15 minutes before officers realised he had his phone in the cell and ordered him to turn it off.
“Sorry for putting you under stress,” he told his sister before the connection went dead. “I guess I’ll just have to go back and do my time, take it on the chin.
“This is my f*** up, this is my f*** up and I’ll take it, but I didn’t get locked up for nothing.
“Black lives matter … more importantly, justice for Elijah [Doughty].
“They can lock people up for a peaceful protest and put them away, but what are they going to do to the … old white racist people when they kill our young brothers and sisters … nothing.”
Elijah Doughty was the Kalgoolie teen who died beneath the wheels of a car owned and driven by the owner of the stolen motorcycle the youth was riding. The pursuing driver was subsequently sentenced to three years behind bars.
One of the protestors, Else Kennedy, said the peaceful rally turned violent when police tried to move people off the road.
“They were quite rough in their handling of people,” she said.
“In the scuffle a camera person who was filming one of the arrests was knocked to the ground and was then kicked by a police officer.”
Fellow protester Hilary Tyler said officers arrested four adults and two kids after violently “targeting people”.
“I saw this one 14-year-old kid being tackled to the ground,” she told AAP.
“I was kicked by the cops, I was pushed… pretty much everyone there was manhandled. It was disgusting.
“We were holding the road but we were doing it peacefully… they initiated the violence.”
Footage shows several police forcefully restraining people on the ground and threatening them with pepper spray, while one protester was crash tackled after trying to push a policeman.
—with ABC and AAP