QLD_CP_NEWS_YARRABAH_24MAR20
QLD_CP_NEWS_YARRABAH_24MAR20

Police called in over community’s COVID-19 tensions

 

POLICE were called in to break up an angry protest of up to 30 people outside Yarrabah's council building yesterday as tensions in the indigenous community rise over ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

Yarrabah mayor Ross Andrews and chief executive Leon Yeatman were forced to address the crowd who were chanting and waving signs reading "stop oppression" and "justice and equality".

 

Queensland Police have set up a roadblock on Pine Creek Yarrabah Road, and are only allowing residents and essential services into the indigenous community to help slow the spread of coronavirus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Queensland Police have set up a roadblock on Pine Creek Yarrabah Road, and are only allowing residents and essential services into the indigenous community to help slow the spread of coronavirus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Yarrabah remains in lockdown as part of the Biosecurity Act during the virus crisis as indigenous communities were declared vulnerable and a roadblock remains set up preventing non-essential access.

The easing restrictions which took effect over the weekend did not apply in these vulnerable communities.

Yarrabah mayor Ross Andrews said the ongoing restrictions had caused "frustration" within the community, but he urged residents to "try to be a bit more understanding".

"We did go out and do our best in extremely difficult circumstances to try and get some messaging across," he said.

"There is a level of frustration that has built up over many, many weeks and they were letting those frustrations out.

"Confrontations aren't helpful, but we've got to our best as a leadership to answer questions."

The protest came after the Yarrabah clinic was forced to close its doors for almost two days over safety concerns following a rock throwing incident.

A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service confirmed the clinic was shut from 9pm on Monday night, through to 7am yesterday morning.

"Safe healthcare for our staff and the community is our upmost priority," she said.

"During the temporary closure, arrangements were put in place for staff and patients to be diverted to the Cairns Hospital to ensure the continued provision of safe and timely care."

Mr Andrews said he understood the rock throwing was not linked to the protest.

Originally published as Police called in over community's COVID-19 tensions


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