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Symbol of hope from Kalgoorlie protests

AAP logoAAP 31/08/2016 Rebecca Gredley

A photograph of an 18-year-old indigenous woman, and cousin of a teenage boy who died in Kalgoorlie, bravely standing in front of police to protect them from rioting protesters has been deemed a symbol of hope.

Hayley Garlett, 18, was at the Kalgoorlie courthouse to peacefully protest the death of her cousin Elijah Doughty, 14, after he was allegedly run down by a 55-year-old man while riding a motorbike that had been reported stolen.

"It was supposed to be a peaceful protest, but it just got out of hand, it went too far," she said.

The widely circulated image shows Ms Garlett and her mother Trish Gerardi standing side-by-side with their backs to the police, arms outstretched in an attempt to stop the protesters.

"I didn't think about it, I just did it," Miss Garlett said.

Among those taking to social media to praise them were Nationals MLC Dave Grills.

"I applaud Hayley Garlett and her mother for their courageous stand amid yesterday's chaos and violence in Kalgoorlie-Boulder," he wrote on Facebook.

Social media sites played a role in the underlying racial tensions in Kalgoorlie, with reports of sites that incite people to commit racial violence and calls for the sites to be taken down.

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