Monday, March 12, 2007


Camp Sovereignty supporters yesterday gathered in King’s Domain in Melbourne to celebrate the anniversary of the successful 60 day occupation held there in 2006.

Police and members of the Koori community scuffled during a commemoration.

One eye witness reported, "After a beautiful long night of celebration and recollection, all of the supporters gathered around the fire to put it out in the proper way. The authorities weren't happy with that and barged through the crowd to put it out themselves, in complete disrespect to the Fire and all those around it."

According to another supporter, "The camp was never a protest against the Commonwealth games. Its intent was far wider than reported by the media.

The camp was a representation that aboriginal people were still in existence, that they had rights and that their cause - regardless of right-wing opinion to the contrary - was just. The intent was to raise awareness of Aboriginal issues in Australia, and to bring the face of Aboriginal Australia to the world’s media. The Commonwealth Games provided such an opportunity.

Koori spokesman David Dryden says the gathering will become an annual event.

"You know there is a sacred site here, not just something that happened 12 months ago, but there's Aboriginal remains there, my ancestors' bones, skeletal remains in that rock, underneath that rock over there in a mass grave," he said.

"If it's not sacred to us, I don't know what is."

For more on Camp Soverignty go to

The following is from the Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Aboriginal fire protest rekindled

ABORIGINAL activists have vowed to return to Melbourne's Kings Domain each year despite clashing with police today at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of their protest.

About 200 people took advantage of Labour Day celebrations to gather in the city park that was commandeered by Aboriginal protesters for two months early last year.

The protest, dubbed Camp Sovereignty, was eventually disbanded after a Supreme Court injunction ordered the demonstrators out.

Today a contingent returned to the park, lighting a fire to mark the “sacred flame” that burned at the protest a year ago.

Police and Melbourne City Council officers moved in and had to extinguish the fire three times before the crowd eventually dispersed.

The first time they were heckled by protesters, some yelling “Shame, shame” in a rough confrontation.

Camp Sovereignty spokesman Robbie Thorpe said the group had police permission to burn a campfire at the site until 8pm (AEDT). But police denied the claim, saying they had no jurisdiction to grant such permission.

Senior Constable Adam West said police informed Mr Thorpe that he would have to get permission from Parks Victoria to light the fire.

“We basically had no jurisdiction to make an arrangement or anything like that,” he said.

Mr Thorpe is undeterred.

He said the group would return again each year on the anniversary of Campy Sovereignty to spread the message of Aboriginal genocide, treaty and sovereignty.

“It's been 12 months since the fire commenced and we're still trying to get the message across,” Mr Thorpe said.

“The Aboriginal people's situation hasn't changed any, it's got worse and we're going to continue to do that (light the fire).

“It's an annual event now to get our message out that this is our land and our laws apply.”

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