Tent embassy gone
Elders agree to have the aboriginal tent embassy at Musgrave Park removed late Tuesday, saying it has been "overrun" by people being "disrespectful of Musgrave Park".PT1M55S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2b7yb 620 349 December 11, 2012
One of the Aboriginal tent embassy protesters arrested in Musgrave Park overnight has denied the elders who gave permission for the embassy to be taken down have the authority to order such a thing.
Brisbane City Council shut down the embassy on Tuesday, extinguishing a "sacred fire" under the watch of Aboriginal elders, but overnight protesters tried to re-establish the embassy and police arrested three people during midnight raids.
Smouldering fire at the Mugrave Park site on Wednesday. Photo: Amelia Birnie
One of the people arrested, Wayne Wharton of the Kooma people, has been banned from entering the park until January 8 when he is due in court over his arrest on Tuesday night.
"We are thoroughly disappointed at (Lord Mayor Graham Quirk) and his hand-picked elders,’’ he said.
‘‘He has caused irreparable damage to the Aboriginal community and their relationship with the broader community.’’
The tent embassy site on Thursday morning. Photo: Amelia Birnie
The embassy is on traditional Jagera land and, in Aboriginal culture, permission of a land's people to travel or stay in that land must be sought.
Cr Quirk has consulted with Jagera elders, who believed the tent embassy has "turned into something else" and it has served its purpose.
However, Mr Wharton said he had the permission of Jagera elder Kevin Warrugar to remain on the site.
Council's rapid response team cleans up the tent embassy at Musgrave Park Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Katherine Feeney
Mr Warrugar said the elders who had asked the council to dismantle the tent embassy had vested interests.
‘‘I’m angry that people still think they have a right to do whatever they like regarding Aboriginal people,’’ Mr Warrugar said.
‘‘I totally wholeheartedly agree with the concept behind it. This is our land.’’
Jagera elder Uncle Des Sandy explains why the community agreed to let council officers clean up the tent embassy. Photo: Katherine Feeney
Cr Quirk issued a statement saying he would continue to honour the request of Brisbane indigenous elders that the tent embassy not be re-established.
''Brisbane's indigenous elders are who I listen to and take advice from on these types of matters and I will continue to honour their request for the embassy to remain closed,'' he said.
''I simply ask these embassy members to show some respect for Brisbane's indigenous elders and their wishes.''
Earlier today, protesters had vowed to stay at the Aboriginal tent embassy site "until we die" with six protesters there about 8.30am.
Protester Kurt Fynner said he had been coming back to Musgrave Park his ''entire life''.
''We'll stay here until we die,'' he told Fairfax Radio 4BC.
Mr Fynner said the indigenous people had nowhere else to go and Aboriginal people travelled from all over Australia to visit the Musgrave Park tent embassy.
Mr Fynner said the park was a place where Aboriginal people could "sort out their differences and shake hands".
"They (the police) always come here. There are other things happening but they got to come here, it's just blacks being blacks,'' he said.
Mr Fynner said it was ''white man law'' which was forcing them out of Musgrave Park.
One of the protesters at the site this morning, Jdulu, said it was ''rotten lies'' indigenous people had consented to the tent embassy being shut down and he called for a royal commission.
He said the council had picked a few Aboriginal people out and said they were elders but they were not leaders of his community.
''They just showed their colours, they're branded, those people (the elders),'' he said.
''They licked people's bums to get where they are. This has got to stop within the indigenous movement in this country.''
Police said two fires had been lit at the site and they had been called in by the council late on Tuesday night.
Firefighters were called in to put out the two fires and three people were arrested with one other issued with a breach of the peace notice.
The three arrested were bailed to appear in court on January 8.
Two tents had been put up at the Musgrave Park site and about 40 protesters were there when police arrived.
The tent embassy was shut down after talks between Aboriginal elders and Cr Quirk.
Cr Quirk revoked council permission for the tent embassy and Jagera elder Uncle Des Sandy had called it a good outcome, saying the embassy had turned into ''something else''.
However, late on Tuesday night embassy spokesman Wayne Wharton said about 40 ''warriors'' decided to re-light a fire at the site, which includes coals from embassy fires in Moree and the original tent embassy in Canberra, and would stay put to guard it.
He said police officers and fire brigade units had begun gathering at the Musgrave Park site.
''The only thing we're missing now is the military,'' he said.
''This time, we'll defend it.''
In May there were angry scenes as police controversially moved the protesters for the Paniyiri Greek festival.
- with AAP