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Mass riots in rural town force hundreds to flee

Mass riots in rural town force hundreds to flee

A violent disturbance in the Queensland town of Aurukun has seen about 300 people fleeing, with the state government sending in disaster response experts.

More than one-fifth of the town’s 1,400 population have evacuated to other communities throughout Cape York after the alleged murder of a 37-year-old man triggered violence and arson on New Year’s Day.

Eight homes were torched, prompting many residents to flee to a makeshift camp about 80km from the town, AAP reported. Others went to nearby communities including Coen, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Laura, Mapoon, Napranum and Pormpuraaw.

29 people have been arrested and charged with 120 offences related to the riots.

Far North Queensland Senior Sergeant Duane Amos and officer Tracey Harding have been called in as response co-ordinators. The two are tasked with leading “a coordinated, case-management approach to addressing the current needs of displaced Aurukun residents”.

Additional police have been deployed to Aurukun to maintain calm amid threat of ongoing violence as work continues to repair damaged properties in the city.