Emergency services watch fire in Old Parliament House in Canberra | Camden-Narellan Advertiser

‘The damage is unmanageable’: emergency services are still on site after the fire in the old parliament building

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There were chaotic scenes outside the old parliament building after the front door of the building was consumed by flames.

news, national,

2021-12-30T17: 00: 00 + 11: 00

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https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6289233469001

The Museum of Australian Democracy has said a fire was lit at the entrance to the Old Parliament House on Thursday morning, with demonstrations continuing into the afternoon.

“The fire caused significant damage to the heirloom doors, portico and facade of the building. It is currently not possible to estimate the economic value of the damage,” MoAD said in a statement.

MoAD director Daryl Karp said, although they have not estimated the economic value of the destruction, “from a hereditary perspective, the damage is unmanageable”.

There were protests outside the building until around 4pm on Thursday. Some protesters carried Aboriginal flags.

Emergency services said they were called to the fire in the old parliament building around 11.36am on Thursday.

An ESA spokesman said on arrival the crews found the building’s front doors “well lit”.

The building was evacuated for safety reasons and the fire was extinguished. The old parliament building remains closed.

Video footage shows some protesters were in combat with media teams.

First Nations people protest in front of Old Parliament House.  Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

First Nations people protest in front of Old Parliament House. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

A spokesman for ACT Policing said there had been “ongoing protest activity in front of the old parliament building over the last fourteen days”.

Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

Around 12.10 a fire alarm could be heard from the old parliament building while the police had formed a line blocking access to the building.

ACT police, firefighters and paramedics were on the scene.

From 18 December, First Nations people and allies have met daily at the Tent Embassy for a historic and cultural ceremony, which included the delivery of a deferral notice to the Australian Government Corporation.

First Nations people out in front of Old Parliament House.  Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

First Nations people out in front of Old Parliament House. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

An involved man said protesters had previously occupied the building’s fortifications.

He said they lit a ceremonial fire and when police arrived, they started pushing to the crowd.

He said the on-site inspector had stopped police intervention before it escalated further.

He and another man involved said police had used pepper spray on protesters.

ThatCanberra Times has been told that the type of pepper spray used by ACT Policing is water based and not a fire accelerator.

‘The damage is unmanageable’: emergency services are still on site after the fire in the old parliament building

.

There were chaotic scenes outside the old parliament building after the front door of the building was consumed by flames.

news, national,

2021-12-30T17: 00: 00 + 11: 00

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6289226119001

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6289226119001

The man said the protesters had taken peaceful acts to and from for two weeks. He said the area before the old parliament building, where the Aboriginal tent embassy stands, was banned from the media and that they had “no jurisdiction”.

Not long before, protesters moved members of the media back with cameras from this area, shouting “tell the truth”.

But Albert Hartnett, an activist involved in the Aboriginal tent embassy, ​​said protesters did not create the fire.

“They did a smoking ceremony. The police [came out] from inside the building and they encountered where the smoking ceremony took place and they sprayed pepper spray on the flames of the fire, “he said.

“What they did was aggravate the flames.

“It started burning the top of the roof, which now caught fire.”

First-time visitors to Canberra Cameron Duschka said he walked around 6 p.m. 11.30.

He said that when he first arrived, there was a group of protesters on the steps out in front of the old parliament building.

“A group of policemen walked towards them and forced them back into the building, and then I noticed a small fire on the stairs,” he said.

Sir. Duschka said the fire then “got bigger and bigger and bigger” and then “there was a lot of tumult [with] the police are forcing people back. ”

The Old Parliament House was used as the seat of Parliament from 1927 to 1988. It is now used as the Museum of Australian Democracy.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam during the portico of Parliament after his dismissal on 11 November 1975. Photo: Graham Thompson

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam during the portico of Parliament after his dismissal on 11 November 1975. Photo: Graham Thompson

Chairman of the ACT Heritage Council, Kenneth Heffernan, said the building is both an ACT heritage and a federal heritage.

He said he hoped the damage from the fire was minor, given the historic significance of the site.

“[I hope] that the damage proves to be minimal and that good recovery is possible in the near future, “he said.

“It is associated with a huge number of really important events in Australian history. It served as the Parliament House during World War II.

“It was probably the most famous place for … speech by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at the dismissal.”

Sir. Heffernan said that because of the embassy, ​​the old parliament building remained a place of democracy and protest.

“[It is a] continued protest site. It really is a place of democracy, “he said.

The Aboriginal tent embassy is located outside the old parliament building. The 50th anniversary of the tent embassy will take place in January.

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This story ‘The damage is unmanageable’: emergency services still in place after the fire in the Old Parliament House first appeared in The Canberra Times.

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