January 26, 2012 by staff
Australia Day, Australia Day was marred and a gaping hole exposed in security planning for the Prime Minister yesterday after Julia Gillard was chaotically dragged away from a protest staged by members of Canberra’s Aboriginal tent embassy.
The tent embassy activists who mobbed Ms Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the nearby The Lobby restaurant accused Mr Abbott of inciting the riot.
But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda last night condemned the protesters’ behaviour after about 200 of them banged on the three glass sides of the restaurant chanting ”shame” and ”racist”.
”An aggressive, divisive and frightening protest such as this has no place in debates about the affairs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or in any circumstances,” Mr Gooda said.
”While we need to acknowledge that there’s a real anger, frustration and hurt that exists in some indigenous communities around Australia, we must not give in to aggressive and disrespectful actions ourselves.”
At least 50 police, including the riot squad, were called to the scene shortly after 2.30pm.
The two leaders, protected by police and security officers, escaped out a side door after about 20 minutes. Ms Gillard lost a shoe and almost fell to the ground as a security officer bundled her out of the restaurant and into a waiting car.
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