Rallies were held across Australia on Saturday as a national day of action called by Warlpiri Elders demanding a ban on police bringing guns into remote communities.

Warlpiri Elders from Yuendumu have urged change after the acquittal of police officer Zachary Rolfe who shot and killed 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker in their community.

Rallies held in Alice Springs, Darwin, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra supported the demands outlined in the Karrinjarla Muwajarri – Ceasefire statement.

That statement, released by Warlpiri Elders in May calls for disarming of police, redirecting police funding into community-controlled services and Warlpiri governance, repeal all NT Intervention powers, and an end to racism in the media and the courts.

Elder Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves said armed police caused fear in remote communities.

“We cannot accept that anymore,” he said.

“We don’t want to feel terrified in our own ngurra, our own home.

“This is not only for Warlpiri people, this is for everyone.”

Garrwa community leader Gadrian Hoosan said Borroloola community in the Gulf of Carpenteria community stood with Yuendumu.

“The murders of colonisation continue today in the criminal justice system through the discriminatory NT Intervention laws and enforcement in modern policing,” he said.

“Our people live in fear of losing our children to the youth detention system where they are tortured.

“Instead of more funding for police and prisons, we want to see funding redirected to our communities to manage community justice issues, based in customary law and local authority.”

The rally in Naarm (Melbourne) marched on the main police station in the city centre.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar has also backed calls to remove guns from police officers working in communities.

A Northern Territory Government spokesperson would not support calls to disarm police.

“The Territory Labor Government recognises that every remote community, and every person in them, has different wants and needs under our policy for local decision making on a place by place basis,” they said.

“Our police have a tough job and face into some very complex challenges in the Territory and many of our police officers have great relationships in remote communities.”

It is understood planning is underway for a Cabinet visit to Yuendumu.