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Protest turns violent outside WA court

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016

At least one WA police officer is believed to have been injured after protesters angry about the death of a 14-year-old boy threw bottles and rocks at the Kalgoorlie Courthouse.

A 55-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter over the death on Monday and was due to face the court on Tuesday morning, but an estimated crowd of about 400 protesters, which included Aboriginal and non-indigenous people, disrupted proceedings.

It is believed the boy was riding a stolen motorcycle before a crash involving the bike and the accused man's utility in bushland off Clancy Street in Boulder.

Police were pelted with bottles and at least one officer was injured, while some protesters were arrested.

WA police posted on Facebook that the investigation into the teenager's death was ongoing.

"Members of the public have a right to protest, however, we encourage them to do so peacefully, or they may be arrested," the statement read.

"Officers will maintain a strong visible presence in the community and will take action against those identified as breaking the law."

Aboriginal leaders are also working closely with police.

A spokeswoman for WA courts said in a statement that measures had been put in place to ensure all staff and court users in the building were safe and secure.

"The Magistrates Court hopes to resume its caseload as soon as possible today. The District Court trial in the building has been postponed until tomorrow," she said.

"A full inquiry will be held into the circumstances of this morning's disturbance."

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder acting mayor Allan Pendal told AAP he saw a police officer pelted with a bottle and some surrounding shops had shut down.

"Some have locked themselves in their shops and they're extremely upset," he said.

"It's a sad occasion and we've just got to let the police and the courts do their jobs.

"You can understand why people are upset in these circumstances but we need to be law abiding."

The boy's aunty said his death was the third in the family over the past few weeks and they were reeling from the tragedy.

"He was a very happy-go-lucky kid. He was never a bad kid," she told the Kalgoorlie Miner newspaper.

"He was always someone who lifted other people's spirits whenever times were hard."

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