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Racial tensions high after clashes

Tuesday 15 Jan 2013 2:20p.m.

Racial tensions high after clashes

Large numbers of police are on standby if violence flares again between Aboriginal and Pacific Islander families south of Brisbane.

But police are confident they can keep the peace after being forced to call in the riot squad in the Logan suburb of Woodridge last night following a weekend of violent interactions.

Logan District Superintendent Noel Powers said tensions remained raw in the community, and yesterday's unrest was sparked by one aggressor.

"It really kicked off with one person just antagonising another," Supt Powers told reporters today.

"Tensions were just that raw and it fired up. It just took a minor incident to set it off.

"Obviously someone was to blame ... but we're not in a position to say who."

Supt Powers said no arrests were made during last night's stand off, as that would have only inflamed the situation.

"It was an extremely volatile situation last night and any enforcement action would have escalated that."

Supt Powers said at the height of yesterday's drama, 40 police were at the scene, but that dropped to 18 overnight.

"At the moment we have about 15 police on the ground. That said, we have got a significant number of resources available today on the ground and they'll be here at a moment's notice if needed.

"But I don't anticipate further trouble today ... or in the future."

Woodbridge MP Desley Scott says there's been growing feeling in the Aboriginal community since the accidental death of teenager Jackson Doolan on a train line at Loganlea in December.

Police have repeatedly said there's no truth to suggestions he was being chased.

Yet suggestions that Pacific Islanders may have been involved still persist, police say.

"It's festering I think," Ms Scott said of the Doolan case today.

She also said Aboriginal people in Logan "are just feeling they are being a bit swamped by other cultures".

One self-described Aboriginal leader Paul Butterworth said aggression from Pacific Islanders was continuing.

But Pacific Islander elder Ofa Fukofuka denied there was problem between the two communities and maintained the city's youths were the real issue.

"Everyone just needs to cool down and realise just because there is a disagreement between two youths from different groups, it doesn't mean there is tension between those groups."

NZN

 
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