First Nations leaders condemn fire in Old Parliament House, claiming anti-wax involvement | Forbes lawyer

First Nations leaders condemn the fire in the Old Parliament House, claiming anti-wax involvement

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Chaotic scenes outside the old parliament building occurred after the front door of the building was consumed by flames.

news, national,

2021-12-30T19: 30: 00 + 11: 00

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

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

First Nations leaders have condemned protests outside the parliament building following a devastating fire that damaged the north facade.

Home Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, GetUp First Nations Justice Campaign Director Larissa Baldwin and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy have condemned the demonstrations.

An official statement from the tent embassy, ​​shared by Mrs Baldwin, said they did not tolerate the actions of protesters occupying the Old Parliament House.

“The actions of such protesters who carried out a ‘smoking ceremony’ were carried out without the knowledge, consent or mandate of the embassy council and traditional owners responsible for the regulation of the Aboriginal tent embassy,” the statement said.

On social media, Baldwin said anti-vaccination protesters had “hijacked” Aboriginal activists.

“Can confirm that the protest in the old parliament building is full of antivax Freedom Day protesters who are once again hijacking our movements. Their actions are shameful,” she wrote.

A Facebook page called MMAMV Australia – which stands for Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccination – livestreamed the protest.

ACT Policing said they have launched an investigation into the fire, saying it has caused “extensive water damage” to the Old Parliament House.

“Protesters have been in front of the old parliament building for over a week, and this morning a traditional smoking ceremony began,” ACT police said.

“The fire traveled to the front facade of the building before being evacuated, allowing ACT Fire and Rescue to extinguish the fire.”

Canberra Times understands a group of people who call themselves “sovereign citizens” – and believe that laws do not apply to them – may have been involved in the protest.

Wyatt called the fire “regrettable.”

“When I think of the Old Parliament House, I am reminded of our first original Member of Parliament Neville Bonner on the front steps [and] other historic moments in our democracy, “he wrote.

A senator from the Greens also sparked controversy Thursday after appearing to support the fire.

In a now-deleted tweet, Victoria’s senator Lidia Thorpe retweeted a video of the fire, saying, “It looks like the colony system is burning down. Happy New Year everyone.”

A screenshot of Senator Thorpe's controversial tweet.

A screenshot of Senator Thorpe’s controversial tweet.

The Museum of Australian Democracy said the fire was lit at the entrance to the Old Parliament House on Thursday morning. Protesters with Aboriginal flags gathered outside until around 4pm on Thursday.

“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 that although they had not estimated the economic value of the destruction, “from a hereditary perspective, the damage is unmanageable”.

“Having this kind of … violent protest is not the way I think democracy should be practiced,” she said.

“There is no room for violence, for the destruction of property in a democracy. Protest is, in fact, about it being peaceful, legal and not violating the rights of others.”

The minister responsible for the Old Parliament House, Ben Morton, described the protests as “not peaceful” and said the building would be restored.

“No system of government is perfect. In our democracy, the freedom of peaceful protest is one that we can and should celebrate,” Mr Morton said in a statement.

“Today’s actions in the Old Parliament House were not peaceful. The resulting damage undermines the message that peaceful protesters are seeking to deliver.

“The damage to the building will be fully restored back to its original condition.”

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

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

Footage shows protesters fighting media outlets.

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 December 20, First Nations people and allies have met daily at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Protesters said they conducted a daily smoking ceremony and trained visitors, while MoAD said they had protested every day.

It is understood that First Nations activists delivered what they called a “postponement message” to the Australian government.

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.

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

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 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”.

First Nations leaders condemn the fire in the Old Parliament House, claiming anti-wax involvement

.

Chaotic scenes outside the old parliament building occurred after the front door of the building was consumed by flames.

news, national,

2021-12-30T19: 30: 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

Albert Hartnett, an activist involved in the Aboriginal tent embassy, ​​however, 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 was 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 next year.

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This story, First Nations leaders condemn the fire in the Old Parliament House, claims that anti-wax engagement first appeared in The Canberra Times.

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