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Violence outside WA court over boy's death

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016

Twelve police officers have been injured after angry protesters launched bottle "missiles" at them outside a WA court as tensions flared over the death of a 14-year-old Aboriginal boy.

A 55-year-old man was due to appear in Kalgoorlie Courthouse on Tuesday morning charged with manslaughter, but an estimated crowd of about 200 protesters 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.

WA Police Acting Commander Darryl Gaunt said the court was initially locked down because protesters became unruly, then people climbed over fences and police cars to get into the court complex.

"When they were told to leave, they threw missiles at the building and we had to lock down the building," he told reporters.

"Some people made it inside so we had to secure the court and evacuate all the staff."

The violence continued in the street with several shops forced to shut down.

Mr Gaunt said 12 officers were injured, with one requiring stitches, while five police cars and a nearby business were damaged.

Several people have been arrested for assaulting police and disorderly conduct, while several more are expected to be charged after video footage is checked.

Mr Gaunt has more than 30 years experience as a policeman and says he has never seen anything like this before.

He said some social media commentary had been disgusting and racist.

"It has absolutely inflamed the situation, without a doubt."

He said the victim's family and Aboriginal elders supported police and tried to calm the protesters.

The accused man, who cannot be named, eventually appeared in court and was remanded in custody to appear in Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court in Perth via video link on Wednesday.

Mr Gaunt said the man and his family had been removed from Kalgoorlie for their safety.

"There is nothing to suggest at all that it's a racist issue. It's a death of a child who happens to be Aboriginal," he said.

Police said the charge was based on the evidence available and warned people to protest peacefully.

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

Some signs held by peaceful protesters read: "All lives matter. Save our kids. Australia against racism."

An aunty told the Kalgoorlie Miner the "happy-go-lucky" boy's death was the third in the family over the past few weeks and they were reeling from the tragedy.

City chief executive John Walker told AAP that after calm was restored, street sweepers cleaned up the debris and an area was set up for the community to grieve where a vigil would also be held.

An alcohol ban will be reviewed on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for WA courts said there would be a full inquiry into the incident.

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