120518 – “Brisbane police move on Aboriginal Tent Embassy” The Wire

* The Wire: Brisbane police move on Aboriginal Tent Embassy
* Warwick Daily News:
Protesters [from Brisbane Embassy] march on parliament
* NTEU: Indigenous business is Union business:
Musgrave Park Tent embassy
* Change.org Petition:
Mayor Graham Quirk: allow the return of the Aboriginal
Sovereign Embassy to Musgrave Park
* Michael Anderson:
Aborigines call for UN peacekeepers to protect them
* Background to the Aboriginal tent embassies


WGAR News: “Brisbane City Council to try to forcibly remove
Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy” MR (16 May 12)

Sovereign Union: Sovereign Embassy Brisbane
[Musgrave Park, Brisbane, Qld]

Facebook: Brisbane Sovereign Embassy, Musgrave Park
[Musgrave Park, Brisbane, Qld]


– Audio Interview

The Wire: Brisbane police move on Aboriginal Tent Embassy
Produced by Chris Brunner
16 May 12: “”Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land,”
that was the catch-cry of protestors after police broke-up
the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Musgrave Park, south of the
Brisbane river earlier this morning… The Tent Embassy has
been in place since March, marking the fortieth anniversary
of the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. Up
until now, the peaceful protest has been allowed to remain
in the park, an area of significance to the local Jagera
people. Over one-hundred police descended on the group this
morning making over thirty arrests… Aboriginal Activist,
Sam Watson, was there helping to lead the protest.
The Wire spoke to him earlier today, to see what happened
after the raid…
Featured in story: Sam Watson – Aboriginal Activist”

– Related Statement

Green Left:
Cease the attacks on Brisbane’s Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy
18 May 12: “Socialist Alliance Brisbane released the
statement below on May 18 * * *
The Socialist Alliance expresses its full support and
solidarity with the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in
Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, and strongly condemns the
actions of police and the Brisbane City Council in forcibly
evicting the Aboriginal community members at the embassy on
May 16.
The use of more than 200 police to stage a dawn raid on the
peaceful embassy is a return to the police state tactics of
the Joh Bejlke-Petersen regime in Queensland 30 years ago.
This heavy handed show of force also appears to be a clear
signal by Liberal National Party (LNP) Mayor Graham Quirk
and Premier Campbell Newman of their intentions to crack
down on peaceful protest in this new era of LNP political
dominance in Queensland.”

– Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 16-05
16 May 12: “* Growing condemnation of the Queensland
Liberal Government’s use of hundreds of police to remove
Aboriginal people who had established a peaceful protest
site and Tent Embassy on land widely acknowledged as being
culturally significant.
* Early Wednesday morning Hundreds of police moved in on
the site arresting up to 30 rights campaigners and forcing
other supporters to leave the site under threat of arrest.
Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad has described the
police action as an absolute unnecessary escalation in

– Related News

ABC Brisbane: What is the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy?
18 May 12: “The removal of an Aboriginal tent embassy from
Brisbane’s Musgrave Park on Wednesday was met with
defiance, anger, tears and frustration. Hundreds of police
surrounded the campsite at dawn, shutting it down to make
way for a Greek festival to be held at the park this
weekend. As emotions ran high, dozens were arrested and
charged. The group is now camped at the Jagera Arts Hall, a
sacred Aboriginal site only metres up the road from
Musgrave Park. … Brisbane’s was the third embassy to be
set up, after Canberra and Perth, and is now one of seven
in place around Australia.”

Sovereign Union:
Brisbane Originals subject to politically motivated eviction
“Despite successfully negotiating with the Greek community
and allocating a suitable area so they can both share the
park, … During a stand-off for a little over a day, the
Mayor with support from the Queensland government tried to
intimidate the Embassy members by parking a substantial
contingent of police vehicles adjacent to the Embassy.
Around 200 members of the Queensland police force were then
ordered to forcefully evict the sovereigns, along with
their supporters, early in the morning of Wednesday 16th
May, 2012.” Bruce Skewes, Treaty Republic sub-editor

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Embassy members pledge to fight for sovereignty
18 May 12: “Indigenous Sovereign Embassy members and
supporters in South Brisbane have refused to elaborate on
the outcome of their meeting over its future. They met for
three hours in a hall next to Musgrave Park yesterday,
where Embassy stood before being dismantled by a large
number of police on Wednesday. But local elder Wayne
Saunders says the fight for Aboriginal sovereignty will
continue in Brisbane.”

ABC Brisbane: Activists quiet on Brisbane tent embassy future
18 May 12: “Indigenous leaders in South Brisbane have
refused to elaborate on the outcome of their meeting over
the future of a controversial tent embassy. Activists met
for three hours in a hall next to Musgrave Park, where
their makeshift campsite stood until yesterday. The tent
embassy had been in the park for two months and activists
had defied a Brisbane City Council order to pack up ahead
of the Paniyiri Greek festival this weekend. More than 250
police moved in early yesterday morning and about 30 people
were arrested and later charged.”

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Embassy members to take up with CMC
18 May 12: “Members of the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy have
called a meeting for midday today to discuss plans to lodge
a complaint with the Crime and Misconduct Commission. They
say they are seeking the full story of this Wednesday’s
events, where a large contingent of police dismantled their
Musgrave Park campsite in South Brisbane. Embassy supporter
Sam Watson says the public should be told the truth about
who was making decisions with regards to the eviction on
Wednesday and why exactly the protest of shut down.”

National Indigenous Radio Service:
New Premier Newman slammed by Embassy
18 May 12: “Indigenous rights advocates in Brisbane have
expressed their disappointment in Queensland Premier
Campbell Newman’s actions to dismantle their protest in the
city’s south this week. Police removed the Aboriginal
Sovereign Embassy at Musgrave Park in south Brisbane under
the orders of the State Government and Brisbane City
Council on Wednesday. About 100 Aboriginal rights supports
then marched on Parliament House to confront the Premier.
Murri Rights advocate Sam Watson was there.”

National Indigenous Times: Brisbane Tent Embassy anger
18 May 12: “By National Indigenous Times reporter Rhonda Hagan
Aboriginal leaders who attended the Sovereignty Tent
Embassy meeting with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk on
the weekend have expressed outrage that their spiritual
camp site would have to be moved on to make way for annual
festivals held on the grounds that fall in coming weeks.
“Why do we have to be moved on all the time?” … ”

Brisbane Times: Greek festival faces backlash
17 May 12: “Punters are threatening to boycott the Paniyiri
Greek festival this weekend amid the fallout from the
police eviction of the Aboriginal tent embassy from
Musgrave Park. Hundreds of police yesterday evicted tent
embassy protesters who had been camped in in the South
Brisbane park for about two months. Brisbane City Council
had issued the protesters with an eviction notice after
Paniyiri sent it a letter in which organisers said the
festival could not go ahead while the tent embassy remained
where it was.”

Brisbane Times: Call to open centre for protest facilities
17 May 12: “Brisbane City Council should open the Jagera
Arts Centre in Musgrave Park to let tent embassy protesters
use the facilities as a “sign of good faith”, indigenous
elder Sam Watson said this morning. The area’s local
councillor Helen Abrahams this morning asked for the hall
to be opened, after tent embassy protesters moved to a site
in front of it last night. Two hundred police yesterday
forced tent embassy protestors from the northern section of
Musgrave Park ahead of this weekend’s Paniyiri Festival.
Mr Watson said the centre should be opened.”

Greek Reporter: Indigenous Find New Place to Camp
But Still Boycott Paniyiri Festival
17 May 12: “The site of the initial tent embassy of the
Aborigines is now surrounded by carnival rides put in place
for the Greek Paniyiri festival that is about to take place
this coming weekend. The indigenous decided to camp at the
new site in Musgrave Park, as their struggle is not over
yet. Australian media report that today things are quieter
at the new camp site, with a dozen protesters gathered
around the Aborigines’s sacred fire. A spokesman for the
group says morale remains high and they have been contacted
by several law firms offering assistance.”

Brisbane Times:
Traditional owner’s plea to Greek festival organisers
17 May 12: “A Musgrave Park traditional owner has urged
Greek Paniyiri Festival organisers to make a “Welcome to
Country” ceremony a permanent feature of their annual event
on the West End site. The call came after tent embassy
protesters and Brisbane indigenous elders held a three-hour
meeting today to discuss the future of the Aboriginal
community’s involvement with South Brisbane’s Musgrave

the Telegraph: Supporters to meet over embassy’s future
17 May 12: “ABORIGINAL activists are expected to meet today
to decide the future of a tent embassy in Brisbane’s
Musgrave Park. Hundreds of police broke up a tent embassy
protest testerdat after being called in to enforce a
Brisbane City Council eviction order. More than 30 people
were arrested and some supporters of the tent embassy spent
the night back at Musgrave Park, at a council approved site
not far from where the embassy had been. A meeting will be
held later this morning to decide on its future. After
yesterday’s arrests, activists vowed to re-establish the
tent embassy in the park, … ”

Indymedia: 200 police evict Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign
Embassy on 1st day of new LNP parliament
16 May 12: “At about 6am this morning 200 police evicted
about 100 people at the Sovereign Embassy at Musgrave Park
in Brisbane. The police action was under orders of the
Brisbane City Council who say they must move on so that the
Greek Panyiri Festival can use the park this weekend. Last
night union members arrived to erect portable fencing as a
security barrier in respect of the Panyiri Festival
organisers, whom they say had agreed that the camp was not
an impediment to the Festival. … A number of people were
arrested, around 30.” By kimk

Brisbane Times:
Police evict protesters from Brisbane tent embassy
16 May 12: “More than 200 police descended on Musgrave Park
in Brisbane’s West End this morning to move indigenous tent
embassy protesters, resulting in more than 30 arrests. The
protesters marched to Parliament House then moved to the
Roma Street watchhouse. The group cheers as each arrested
protester is released from the watchhouse. The live
coverage has concluded but check in for updates. Here’s how
the day unfolded.”

– Related Videos

SBS World News Australia: Brisbane protestors back in park
16 May 12: “Around 200 police surrounded Musgrave Park at
South Brisbane to remove tent embassy protestors, only to
return to the park. Protestors have returned to Musgrave
Park in Brisbane to resurrect their tent embassy that was
cleared by police earlier today. However, police and
council say they’re happy with the embassy’s new location.
They say while officers are on hand to monitor the
situation, they won’t be asking them to move on.”

YouTube: Brisbane Tent Embassy – Sovereigns removed

15 May 12: “Live footage from the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy
– Police remove Originals from their sacred land”

ABC: Police break up Brisbane tent embassy protest
16 May 12: “Hundreds of police have broken up an Aboriginal
tent embassy in Brisbane, escorting and sometimes dragging
away about 80 protesters from their makeshift camp in
Musgrave Park. Police say about 30 protesters were arrested,
with the rest choosing to leave peacefully after officers
moved in before dawn today. … The embassy has been in the
South Brisbane park since March but the Brisbane City
Council wants the protesters to move to make way for the
annual Greek festival held at the site.”

BigPond News: Police arrest 31 in Aboriginal protest
16 May 12: “Police have arrested 31 people at a tent
embassy protest in a Brisbane park, after protesters
refused to leave the area. More than 200 police descended
on Musgrave Park on Wednesday morning to enforce a Brisbane
City Council order to evict the group. But they refused to
dismantle their tent embassy and leave the park, forcing
authorities to act.”

– Related Analysis / Opinion

ABC The Drum Opinion: Reconciliation lost in Musgrave Park
17 May 12: “There were no credible reasons for dispersing
the Embassy that I could identify, and none that have been
identified publicly by Brisbane’s Lord Mayor or the
Queensland Premier. There was talk of freeing the park up
for other users, but the Embassy was tucked into a small
corner of the park and was open to others. The Lord Mayor
repeatedly said that the park needed to be freed up for the
Paniyiri Greek festival on the weekend, but the folk at the
Embassy have been talking to the organisers of the festival
and cooperating with them about sharing the park … ”
Adam Stone, a spokesperson for the Queensland Greens

The Conversation:
Musgrave Park and ‘the embassy in my own land’
17 May 12: “This weekend, South Brisbane will play host to
the Paniyiri Festival, one of Australia’s largest cultural
events. From May 19 to 20, thousands are expected to join
the celebrations and delight themselves with beautiful
presentations of Greek culture. There is, however, a
political battle of global significance interfering with
one of the festival’s choice venues – Musgrave Park. Today
there stands what certain commentators have come to call a
“Tent Embassy”. The Embassy is a political place where
Aboriginal people … are declaring their sovereignty.”
Jean-Paul Gagnon, Honorary Research Fellow (HKIEd),
Democratic Theory at Hong Kong Institute of Education

Dave Burton’s Blog: A Morning in May at Musgrave Park
16 May 12: “From what I can gather from media sources, this
morning over thirty people were arrested at Brisbane’s
Musgrave Park after refusing to leave the area. A few weeks
ago, the organisers of the upcoming annual Greek Festival
asked for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy that occupies
Musgrave Park to be emptied for the duration of the event.
Brisbane City Council then issued that request to the
indigenous group occupying the embassy. This request caused
much distress, and amounted in a large protest, climaxing
today. 200 police officers turned up … ”

Brisbane Times:
Here we Joh again: Protest divides city along familiar lines
16 May 12: “After all, the cops managed to move on the
protesters from the Aboriginal tent Embassy in Musgrave
Park this morning without the crazy bad sort of violence
that attended the last big police operation there, the
attack on Triple Z’s market day way back in the ’90s. …
Thirty arrests and half of the city’s traffic grid thrown
into chaos might seem a little, well, chaotic, but it’s
nothing compared to how things used to spin out of control
when the old National Party decided to bust a few heads
open and see if any law and order votes spilled out.”
John Birmingham


– Video

Warwick Daily News: Protesters march on parliament
16 May 12: “PROTESTERS from the Aboriginal Sovereign
Embassy at Brisbane’s Musgrave Park have snaked their way
around the city. The group, which shrunk in numbers since
they were kicked out of Musgrave Park in West End this
morning, marched to Parliament House at 11:30am ahead of
the opening ceremony this afternoon. Protesters stood in
the Speaker’s Corner chanting “always was, always will be
Aboriginal land.””

– Related News

newsTracker: Newman refused to meet protesters
17 May 12: “Some protesters then marched on parliament
house demanding to see the premier. Mr Newman angered
protesters on Tuesday by saying their protest, which began
two months ago, had run its course and squatters’ camps had
no place in public parks. Protest organiser Sam Watson said
Mr Newman should meet with the marchers to defend the
number of police sent in to dismantle the park protest.
“Even in the face of enormous provocation our men and
women, and non-indigenous supporters, we’re peaceful,” he

Koori Mail:
Protesters march on Queensland parliament after arrests
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
16 May 12: “AFTER 31 of their number were arrested this
morning, protesters evicted from the Aboriginal tent
embassy in Musgrave Park in South Brisbane have marched on
Queensland’s parliament. Around 250 police moved on the
embassy this morning after protesters refused comply with a
Brisbane City Council eviction order.”

Embassy protesters march to Parliament
newsTracker: http://tracker.org.au/2012/05/embassy-protesters-march-to-parliament/
Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/tent-embassy-protesters-march-on-parliament/story-fn3dxity-1226357610408
16 May 12: “QUEENSLAND: Protesters evicted from an
Aboriginal tent embassy have marched to Queensland’s
parliament. Only about 50 protesters remain after the
eviction from Musgrave Park in South Brisbane on Wednesday
morning, which saw 31 arrests. The group, which was making
a statement about Aboriginal sovereignty, had been warned
they needed to move on for this weekend’s annual Paniyiri
Greek festival, after occupying the site for two months.
Murri activist Sam Watson wants to ask Premier Campbell
Newman why 200 police were necessary to move the group on.”

Sovereign Union:
Police arrest sovereigns as Originals try to hold sacred land
16 May 12: “About 100 legitimate sovereigns and supporters
have marched on Parliament House in Brisbane after a tense
protest at a southside park came to a head. The group
marched from Musgrave Park in South Brisbane where more
than 200 police moved on a tent embassy and arrested 30
people earlier this morning. Police have dragged some of
the Originals away from their Aboriginal Tent Embassy at
Musgrave Park at South Brisbane. There were dramatic scenes
of confrontation between police and the Originals, as the
campsite was cordoned off and surrounded by officers.”
[Includes Audio:
Brisbane Sovereign Embassy – Wayne (Coco) Wharton]

Brisbane Times: Brisbane protest harks back to old rifts
16 May 12: “An Aboriginal rights protest directed at
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has marred the
ceremonial opening of parliament and harked back to the
state’s days of deep division. Around 200 police surrounded
Musgrave Park at South Brisbane on Wednesday to remove tent
embassy protesters who had refused to make way for this
weekend’s annual Greek festival. … About 50 protesters
marched to Parliament House to demand a meeting with Mr
Newman about what they argued was an excessive show of

– Related Video

ABC: Tent embassy activists take protest to streets
16 May 12: “Aboriginal activists have rallied at
Queensland’s Parliament and Brisbane’s police watchhouse in
support of about 30 people arrested at today’s closure of a
tent embassy in the city. They are angry that more than 200
police moved in this morning to close the embassy which had
been established in South Brisbane’s Musgrave Park since
March. A number of those charged initially refused to sign
bail documents because of a condition that prevents them
from returning to the park.”

YouTube: Tent embassy protesters demand to see Premier

15 May 12: “Aboriginal leader Sam Watson says evicted tent
embassy protesters will march to Queensland Parliament and
demand to see Premier Campbell Newman.”


– Analysis / Opinion

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Indigenous:
Indigenous business is Union business
– Musgrave Park Tent embassy
17 May 12: “As many are no doubt aware, on the 16/5/12, 200
Police Officers, on the orders of QLD Premier Campbell
Newman, and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk descended upon
Musgrave Park to forcibly remove the Aboriginal Tent
Embassy that had been there since March 2012. … With
sovereignty never ceded in this country by the Indigenous
peoples, and with a treaty never reached between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous Australians, how appropriate is it for
any politician to refer to a sovereignty movement conducted
by Indigenous Australians as “trespassing”? … One very
positive bit of news to come out of this event however, has
been the reports of Union solidarity shown towards the Tent
Embassy.” by Celeste Liddle (Indigenous)

– Related Motion

Green Left: ACTU Congress backs Brisbane Sovereign Embassy
17 May 12: “The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Congress passed the motion below on May 16 in support of
the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy. * * *
The ACTU stands in solidarity with the unionists and
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists at the
culturally significant site at Musgrave Park, Brisbane, QLD.
Congress expresses it concern about the apparent return to
negative tactics used by the Queensland government in the
1970s and 1980s against citizens of Queensland.
Campbell Newman has been elected to govern for all
Queenslanders, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Queenslanders, and this Congress calls on the
Newman government and the Brisbane City Council to respect
the rights of freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and


– Petition

Change.org Petition: Mayor Graham Quirk:
allow the return of the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy to
Musgrave Park.
Created By Steve Skitmore, West End, Brisbane
“About this Petition: This morning, over 200 members of the
Queensland Police surrounded the Aboriginal Sovereign tent
embassy, and forcibly removed all residents. Musgrave Park
is the spiritual home of Brisbane Murris and the land was
handed back to the traditional owners of the area nearly 20
years ago. Forcibly evicting people from their own land is a
continuation the long history of dispossession that
Aboriginal people in Australia have had to endure. …
Please sign my petition … ”

– Related News

newsTracker: Brisbane protest evictions spark petition
18 May 12: “QUEENSLAND: More than 1600 people have signed
an online petition demanding Aboriginal protesters be
allowed to return to a Brisbane park. Hundreds of police
moved in to evict the group from Musgrave Park on
Wednesday, with more than 30 people arrested. … Brisbane
resident Steve Skitmore said he started the petition, on
the social action site Change.org on Wednesday after
watching police forcibly remove the protesters.”


– Media Statement

Aborigines call for UN peacekeepers to protect them
Sovereign Union: http://nationalunitygovernment.org/content/aborigines-call-un-peacekeepers-protect-them
16 May 12: “Michael Anderson’s Media Staement
We have already put the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon,
on notice that we are in need of UN peacekeepers as the
Australian authorities are increasing their aggression
against our sovereignty movement.
Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia, in conjunction
with WA police, is executing a dictatorship of force towards
Aboriginal people, local families and protestors at James
Price Point near Broome, WA. The Premier has reportedly
ordered around 250 police with riot gear to secure a clear
access for Woodside’s staff and equipment to access the
proposed gas hub site in on the West Kimberley coast. Over
600 members of Broome’s rich and diverse multicultural
community presented flowers at Broome Police Station on
Mother’s Day as a peaceful protest against the heavy police
presence, …
We again state that the Australian government has no
sovereignty over Australia and no jurisdiction over
Aboriginal people, who have never signed a treaty nor ceded
their sovereignty to a colonial force. The Australian
government continues to fail to provide any protection
against gross misuse of police powers towards Aboriginal
people. We call for the immediate scrutiny and involvement
of the United Nations in the many human rights violations
perpetrated by the so-called ‘Australian Nation’ towards
Aboriginal people in Australia.”


WGAR News: Gerry Georgatos:
Police amassing at James Price Point (16 May 12)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/16/wgar-news-brisbane-city-council-to-try-to-forcibly-remove-aboriginal-sovereign-embassy-mr
[James Price Point, north of Broome, Kimberley Region, WA]

Sovereign Union: Walmadan Tent Embassy (James Price Point)
[James Price Point, north of Broome, Kimberley Region, WA]

Kimberley Campaigner – Background

Save The Kimberley: Wilderness. Culture. Heritage

Facebook: Goolarabooloo and Lurujarri Heritage Trail


Last updated: 18 May 2012


– – –

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‘WGAR News’ monitors the media, including alternative media,
focusing on:
* the Australian Federal government intervention into
Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal communities;
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* upcoming Aboriginal rights events around Australia.

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