Racial feud continues as police try to diffuse heated scenes
POLICE have called on elders and church groups to help officers ease the simmering racial tension in the Logan area.
More than 40 police officers were sent in to diffuse heated scenes in the streets of Woodridge after people from the Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities armed themselves with sticks, fence palings and metal bars.
In response to Logan Mayor Pam Parker's call for more police officers in the district, Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin, from Operations Support Command, said all available police service resources had been sent there.
Mr Martin said he was "disappointed and frustrated" by the images he had seen in Douglas St because the service was always striving to achieve public safety.
"My first reaction was that I was very disappointed in that behaviour having regard to the fact it was the antithesis of everything we work for," he said.
Mr Martin said arrests were a last resort and he hoped the interventions and negotiations, together with education, would ease simmering tensions.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said 100 extra police had been allocated to the south-east region this year with 25 officers heading to the district within coming weeks.
He said he hoped the communities would work with police and other community leaders to negotiate a peaceful outcome.
"There are a lot of good people on either side and we just want to make sure we apply a lot of calm and respect to these particular circumstances," he said.
"It comes down to respect, tolerance and calming the situation in the short term while we look for the long term-factors to continue to have strong communities in those areas.
Police commissioner Ian Stewart said he had sent extra resources to the Logan area with any working behind the scenes to mediate a peaceful outcome.
He urged elders and church groups to get involved to help resolve the long-running issues which he said arose periodically.
"This is not going to be fixed in a day, this is not going to be fixed in a week," he said.
"I know the churches get very much involved down there because they have very large followings in both cultural groups.
"And I ask them to take as much action as necessary to get a peaceful resolution to this current tension.
"The elders play a vital role - these are the leaders of their communities.
"What you didn't see was any physical altercation between these two groups.
"Because the police were there making sure those two groups were separated so we could talk sensibly with them."