Angry protesters rallied outside Sydney's Parliament House on Tuesday over the shooting by police of two Aboriginal teenagers arrested in a stolen car in the city's nightclub district.
The 14-year-old driver was shot in the chest and his front-seat passenger, 18, took a bullet in the neck when police opened fire on their car after it mounted a crowded footpath in Kings Cross early Sunday.
Police have said they had little choice after a woman was knocked over by the car and others were forced to leap from its its path.
But mobile phone footage shot by onlookers showing an officer punching and dragging one of those in the car along the ground has prompted accusations of excessive force and fed into racial tensions over the incident.
About 150 people including a number of the injured boys' friends gathered outside the New South Wales state parliament to protest their treatment, waving banners condemning racism and calling for an independent inquiry.
"You got a reason to hate the coppers, you know, when you're a young kid. But this crosses the line. (It's) straight-out racism," said 16-year-old Douglas Martin, a friend of the injured.
"I want them to get punished. Treat them the same as normal citizens. Just because they're coppers, that's just a... uniform, that's just a name."
Renowned Aboriginal boxer Anthony Mundine was among the demonstrators and described the shooting as "brutality at its best".
"There is no justification to just open fire like that, point-blank range, and furthermore bash them," said Mundine.
"There has been no ramifications, there's been no ramifications to the officers. Questions have got to be answered," he added.
Mundine said he had grown up with one of the boys' fathers and seeing the injured teens had been distressing.
"I saw the bloke and it just broke my heart to be honest. It really broke my heart. Fighting for his life you know?"
Police have repeatedly called for calm following the shooting, particularly in the impoverished inner-city Aboriginal district of Redfern, where wild rioting has taken place in the past.
One of Tuesday's rally's organisers, Ray Jackson, called for an independent inquiry into the shootings.
"We don't want police investigating themselves. That's never worked in the past, that's not going to work this time," Jackson told ABC Radio.
"We don't see any value in that. It's time the government bit the bullet and actually did something about setting up an independent investigative body."
Aborigines are Australia's most disadvantaged minority, with shorter life expectancy and much higher rates of imprisonment and disease than the broader population.© ANP/AFP