‘We run this town, not you c…s’: Town tensions escalate
POLICE have flown in five extra officers after a mob of 40 stormed a house and firebombed a bedroom in escalating violence at Doomadgee.
Street fights, known as "fair fights", watched by hundreds, have spiked in the 1300-strong Aboriginal township in the Gulf of Carpentaria in recent weeks.
But Aboriginal leaders and senior police told The Courier-Mail the civil unrest was "nothing like" the large-scale rioting that tore apart Aurukun on New Year's Day.
Footage captured by locals on phones shows the bareknuckle fist fights as two rivals go toe-to-toe to settle differences between clans.
"We run this town, not you c…s,'' shouts one onlooker baying for blood, as elders struggle to control a frenzied mob.
Young kids yell out "bash him, bash him". Older women cry: "fair fight, fight fair".
Several videos uploaded to social media from the township, dubbed by some locals as "Doom City", show how quickly the violence can turn ugly.
In some fights posted earlier in January, the footage shows the fighters shaking hands and hugging after beating each other to a standstill, or if one is bleeding too heavily.
Male elders can be seen refereeing the boxers in a practice that dates back to the mission-era days, with the Gulf town now isolated by floodwaters of the wet season.
But, in other video clips posted a few days ago, angry young women can be seen intervening, screaming and flailing with wooden clubs at rival families.
Mount Isa Police Acting Superintendent Rhys Newton said three investigators and two tactical crime squad officers had flown in to help restore order.
"Street fighting and violence is no way to resolve conflict in remote communities,'' Acting Superintendent Newton said. "It is unclear exactly what is behind the rising tensions. We want to mediate any issues without anyone resorting to violence."
He said it escalated into an alleged arson attack on Monday night when a group of up to 40 people stormed a house and set fire to furniture.
Doomadgee Acting Mayor Jason Ned said it was a lack of respect for authority by young townsfolk that had led to "a bit of drama in town".
"We've got bullshit laws that let off young criminals with a lollipop and handshake,'' the Ganggalidda and Garrwa leader said.
"Back in the 1980s, tribal elders could make sure the young ones respect people. Now there's no respect.''