Dozens of protestors were arrested this morning as police shut down the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Brisbane City Council asked them to intervene, to clear the park for this weekend’s Greek Paniyiri Festival .
Angry protestors then marched to Parliament House.
Cameron Robinson reports.
At around six o’clock this morning about 200 police descended on the West End site and created a barricade around the park, blocking several surrounding streets as well.
Protesters now trapped inside the so-called Sovereign Embassy continued to fuel a huge bonfire, and were supported by other protesters on the street.
The protesters accused Brisbane City Council of withdrawing a proposal allowing them to keep one tent on site as a meeting place for elders.
They say demands to move their sacred fire also led to negotiations breaking down.
The Lord Mayor said his offer still stood, and he tried to ensure a peaceful outcome.
Graham Quirk, Brisbane Lord Mayor: “I am very conscious of the relationship between the police service and the Indigenous community and that’s why I gave every opportunity for the tent embassy to do the right thing and move on.”
Just before 9am police closed in and began removing people, they say 30 of the estimated 100 protesters were arrested in the process.
Chief Superintendent Brent Carter, Queensland Police Service:”Try and negotiate this peacefully however unfortunately we came to a position unable to gain any further traction with the protestors and a decision was made for them to be removed from the park.”
Those protesters who weren’t arrested joined members of the public, and the group of around 70 people marched to Parliament House, angry with the Newman Government’s treatment of Aboriginal people.
Sam Watson, Aboriginal Community Leader: “We are very angry that he has used the Queensland Police Service as a paramilitary force to move us out of Musgrave Park.”
Protesters said it’s an insult for Campbell Newman to wear the Aboriginal flag pin on his jacket.
The protestors have drawn similarities between today’s events and the Springbok protests of 1971, comparing the Newman government with those of the Joh era.
The protesters later marched down George Street to the Roma Street watch house.
It is believed Aboriginal leaders negotiated with police to return to Musgrave Park and retrieve any of their sacred belongings this afternoon.
Cameron Robinson, QUT News.