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Brisbane Originals subject to politically motivated eviction

 PETITION to Mayor Graham Quirk - 'Allow Sovereigns to return to Embassy'



Despite successfully negotiating with the Greek community and allocating a suitable area so they can both share the park, and muturally arranging a smoking ceremony to welcome the Greek community at their upcoming Festival, the Mayor of Brisbane ordered an eviction.

The Mayor justifies his decision by announcing support from some handpicked Aboriginal people who are not involved with the Embassy and one or more Greek community members that were obviously not participating in the previous negotiations.

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.

Many of the members of the police force were not happy with carrying out the eviction as they have a very good relationships with Embassy members, as they work closely together on many community social programs.

Following the eviction, the legitimate sovereigns and their supporters gathered outside the fenced off Embassy at Cordelia Street, South Brisbane and around 100 of them marched to Parliament House to make a statement to the Premier, who ultimately is responsible for the eviction allowing and/or using hundreds of the state government's police force to evict Original Australians peacefully carrying out their traditional cultural activities.

Throughout the eviction, and the protest outside parliament house, about 35 people were arrested for objecting to the state disallowing them asserting their sovereign rights, with the invaders pumped-up charges - recorded as creating a 'public nuisance'.

The sovereigns and their supporters were later released from the police watch house on bail after approximately 6 hours of politically motived detention.

They then gathered at Jaggera Hall adjacent to Musgrave Park.

After a three hour consolidation meeting at the hall, Mr Shannon Ruska, a Yuggera elder said they agreed to Mayor Graham Quirk's offer of a meeting next Tuesday 22nd May, and that an indigenous 'Welcome to Country' ceremony become a permanent feature of the annual Greek Paniyiri Festival.

Since the eviction, Chris Kazonis - Paniyiri Festival spokesperson said the Greek communities concern was not the Tent Embassy being there but the amount of recently erected tents at the events main entrance. "It wasn't a major thing and I thought we could work around it, quite comfortably," he said.

Bruce Skewes - Treaty Republic sub-editor

Festival Organiser Speaks up - Embassy lodges complaints

Festival begins at Brisbane protest site

Brisbane Times May 19, 2012


Eddie Pitt, Loulou Young and Christine Young sit in what is left of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy just outside Paniyiri Greek Festival held at Musgrave park, May 19, 2012.

The Brisbane Greek festival has begun without incident at the site where an Aboriginal tent embassy was evicted ...

... Event organiser John Lazarou said the first day of the festival had been a resounding success, with 20,000 people attending on Saturday.

"We haven't had any trouble; we didn't expect any trouble," Mr Lazarou said.

The festival will feature a welcome to country ceremony on Sunday, which Mr Lazarou said showed the harmony between the Greek and indigenous community.

"We've been very accommodating to the traditional owners and their culture, as they have to ours," he said.

Activists from the protest have lodged complaints against Premier Campbell Newman, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Police Minister Jack Dempsey and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson with the state's Crime and Misconduct Commission.