Hundreds of protesters, hands covered with red ochre, descended on the NSW Supreme Court to scrawl messages of anger and disgust on the glass facade after the man who ran over Aboriginal boy Elijah Doughty in Western Australia was acquitted of manslaughter.

A 56-year-old man was last week acquitted of manslaughter over the death of the 14-year-old in Western Australia’s Goldfields last year and was sentenced to three years in jail on a lesser charge.

Placard-carrying protesters held a tense rally in Sydney on Monday afternoon, with one activist throwing red ochre on the steps of the courthouse.

“This is the blood of Aboriginal people. Don’t wait for this to be your children’s,” a protester screamed, as she listed the names of Aboriginal people who had died in custody.

Tensions between protesters and police reached boiling-point when one man began shouting at officers, challenging them to arrest him, but friends intervened and the crowd dispersed peacefully.

Similar rallies and vigils are being held around the country this week.