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Charges against Brisbane Sovereign Embassy protecters dropped

Tony Keim The Courier-Mail June 21, 2012

Police have dropped charges against five activists arrested in the wake of a last month's fiery protest at Musgrave Park.

Prosecutor Rob Lamason told the Brisbane Magistrates Court police offered no evidence against the men - all wearing clothing emblazoned with Electrical Trades Union insignia - arrested during the protest at the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy at West End, in Brisbane's inner-city.

"This is the incident from Musgrave Park," Sergeant Lamason told magistrate Jacqui Payne.

Ms Payne, the first Aboriginal to be admitted as a solicitor in Queensland and appointed to a judicial position, told Sergeant Lamason he would have to give further details regarding the "Musgrave Park" incident.

Ms Payne she said she had no idea what Sergeant Lamason was talking about, despite the fact the protest over Aboriginal sovereignty had received saturation national media coverage.

Peter Joseph Ong, Joseph John Myles, Garry John Rogers, Scott James Reichman and Christopher Andrew Lynch all appeared before Magistrates Court 1 briefly to face one count each of assaulting or obstructing police during the May 16 protest.

Sergeant Lamason said police offered no evidence in relation to the charges against each man, with Ms Payne dismissing the charge.

However, he said police would proceed with a charge of assault or obstruct police against one of their co-accused - Wendell James Moloney.

Ms Payne released Moloney on bail and remanded him to appear again for mention of the charge on August 22.

About 30 people have been charged with public order offences after their altercation with police.

More than 200 police were called to the park that day after Brisbane City Council tried to remove the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy ahead of the Paniyiri Greek Festival.

In contrast to the police presence at the original protest, only a few uniformed police watched over a demonstration today while some plainclothes officers sat in court.

Outside court, Mr Ong, speaking on behalf of the group, said: "We were at a protest and did nothing wrong."

"Everyone can see it was ludicrous (that we were arrested)."

Images from the day Embassy Sovereigns were arrested
for practicing their sovereign rights - 16th May 2012


Early in the morning of the invasion - at the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy
Police had surrounded the Embassy during the night


After the sun came up the group consolidated around their sacred fire
in readiness to face the police in a peaceful protest


Police march toward the Sovereign Embassy


Arrests are made to Soveriegns who refused to leave their Embassy

Forced Removal of Sovereign Embassy - June 21st, 2012

At 6.30am, police arrested a woman on the footpath outside of the Embassy.
The fence surrounding the Embassy campsite is being taken down by police.
Aboriginal sovereigns danced and played music.

At 6.40am, a second person was detained outside the camp perimeter.
The man was trying to join the Embassy but was held down by police and taken away.

At 7am, Police formed guard lines in preparation to enter the Embassy.
Union members gathered on the nearby hill to show support.

At 7.05am, sovereigns and their supporters discussed options to move.

At 7.30am, Embassy members said they would move if they kept the sacred fire.

At 8am, around 100 people have gathered on the adjacent street corner to support the sovereigns. Police refused them access to the "sacred fire".
Police surrounded the nearby firewood pile so sovereigns were unable to replenish the fire.

At 8.30am, protesters began to sing as they wait for negotiations to finalise.

At 8.45am, hundreds of police entered the Embassy and removed the sovereigns and their supporters from the site.
Union supporters in the camp were led away as well.

At 8.55am, the embassy tents and posessions were taken away by police.
Sovereigns carried a smouldering ember from the "sacred flame" at the heart of the protest.

Around 30 Sovereigns and their supporters were taken into custody and charged with a variety small offences.