Ac­tivist in sui­cide at­tempt

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON LIFE­LINE: 13 11 14 chris.mcma­hon@news.com.au

FOR­MER Don Dale de­ten­tion cen­tre de­tainee Dy­lan Voller has been charged hours af­ter he at­tempted sui­cide in the back of a po­lice car.

Voller was found chok­ing in the back of a paddy wagon fol­low­ing his ar­rest dur­ing an Abo­rig­i­nal protest at Broad­beach yes­ter­day morn­ing.

The peace­ful protest had quickly turned vi­o­lent as ac­tivists at­tempted to make their way through the Broad­beach Mall, fol­low­ing an at­tempt to crash Chan­nel 7s Sun­rise pro­gram again. Four peo­ple were ar­rested when they failed to com­ply with a po­lice di­rec­tion, while Voller was ar­rested for breach­ing his bail con­di­tions fol­low­ing his ini­tial ar­rest at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

He was placed in the back of a paddy wagon where a short time later he was found chok­ing, with strips of his torn Tshirt around his neck.

“As he was be­ing taken to the watch­house one of the of­fi­cers had no­ticed the male per­son (Voller), 21 years old, had ap­peared to have tied some­thing around his neck,” As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Brian Codd said. “They im­me­di­ately stopped their ve­hi­cle and moved very quickly to the rear.

“They found the in­di­vid­ual had torn part of his T-shirt and tied it around his neck and tied a knot and ap­peared to be gasp­ing for air and chok­ing as a re­sult of that. I’m very thank­ful that po­lice pro­fes­sion­ally moved in to pro­vide im­me­di­ate as­sis­tance and were able, us­ing a pen knife, to cut part of the T-shirt off his neck.”

Eth­i­cal Stan­dards po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, with of­fi­cers’ body-worn cam­eras form­ing part of their in­quiries.

Voller was charged with breach­ing bail con­di­tions. Four other men were charged with con­tra­ven­ing a di­rec­tion and ob­struct­ing po­lice.

They are all due to ap­pear in South­port Mag­is­trates Court next month. CHRIS MCMA­HON PO­LICE are pre­par­ing to swoop in large num­bers to stop pro­test­ers said to be plan­ning to dis­rupt the 42km Com­mon­wealth Games marathon.

Some Abo­rig­i­nal pro­test­ers say they will tar­get the event but even though polic­ing it will be a lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare on the course, which takes in nine sub­urbs along the coast­line, of­fi­cers say they are pre­pared for any­thing.

It is un­der­stood se­cu­rity will be bol­stered amid con­cerns for the con­ti­nu­ity of the race and the safety of ath­letes.

Sources con­firmed po­lice are watch­ing the pro­test­ers closely. Po­lice would not re­veal their tac­tics but were con­fi­dent the marathon event, which in­cludes men’s, women’s and wheel­chair ath­letes races, would still run smoothly.

Queens­land Po­lice Deputy Com­mis­sioner Steve Gollschewski said any­one who tried to dis­rupt the marathon would be ar­rested.

“There will be a sig­nif­i­cant po­lice pres­ence out and about at those events and that will con­tinue to the con­clu­sion of the Games,’’ he said.

“We’ve done de­tailed as­sess­ments of se­cu­rity for ev­ery event that the Games has got and that in­cludes road events.

“I would say to those peo­ple, re­ally, don’t do that, be­cause if they do break the law or cause harm, or put peo­ple in dan­ger, we will take ac­tion.

“We’re well pre­pared for any­thing that may come.”

Af­ter sources said ac­tion was be­ing planned for the marathon, lead­ers of the Abo­rig­i­nal protest said only that ob­servers should “wait and see”.

It is un­der­stood all protest­ing ac­tion is be­ing de­cided by a small group of lead­ers among the pro­test­ers, two of whom were ar­rested yes­ter­day at Broad­beach.

Games or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee chair­man Peter Beat­tie said he hoped pro­test­ers would stick to their word and not dis­rupt any events.

“I met the del­e­ga­tion, they said to me they weren’t in­ter­ested in dis­rupt­ing the Games or ath­letes and I have taken them on their word,’’ Mr Beat­tie said.

“Ob­vi­ously it is a mat­ter for po­lice on how they deal with such is­sues.

“I as­sume they will stick to what they said.

“We want to make sure the marathon is run ef­fec­tively.”

Pro­test­ers are camped il­le­gally at The Spit, af­ter their per­mit to set up camp there ex­pired on Mon­day.

Po­lice have said they would not be heavy handed with pro­test­ers on The Spit and would work closely with the Gold Coast Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity to en­sure a peace­ful out­come.

“We’re work­ing with both the group that’s camped there and also the wa­ter­ways au­thor­ity, who are the peo­ple who own the land, which is pro­gress­ing well,” Mr Gollschewski said.

“We are go­ing to con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate on this. We’re not go­ing to take a hard line on that … we will defer to the Gold Coast Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity, it is their land.”

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Brian Codd said po­lice would not take any un­nec­es­sary ac­tion.

“As the Deputy said, we’re not in­ter­ested in un­nec­es­sar­ily and un­rea­son­ably tak­ing any ac­tion that doesn’t as­sist in any way, shape or form.

“Should the wa­ter­ways au­thor­ity seek our as­sis­tance fur­ther, as they nor­mally do and have done in the past with other groups, whether they be campers or back­pack­ers, we’ll cer­tainly do that.

“We will con­tinue our en­gage­ment and con­tinue to en­cour­age them to leave that area. They’re no longer law­fully there and they’re aware of that.

“These are com­pli­cated is­sues. It might be very, very sim­ple to say ‘get in and get rid of them’, here’s some peo­ple who have cho­sen to use this time to draw at­ten­tion to some sig­nif­i­cant is­sues of im­por­tance to them.”

Po­lice would main­tain a close eye on the camp.

WE’RE WELL PRE­PARED FOR ANY­THING THAT MAY COME

QPS DEPUTY COM­MIS­SIONER STEVE GOLLSCHEWSKI

Pic­tures: RICHARD GOSLING

Pro­test­ers camped at Doug Jen­nings Park on The Spit.

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