Many hundreds of people marched in the capital on the Anniversary of the Tent Embassy, calling for land rights and Aboriginal sovereignty.
Tony Abbott made a statement on radio today, that "it is probably time to reconsider the relevance of the Tent Embassy". In protest to the opposition leader's statement, many demonstrators surrounded an adjacent building to the Tent Embassy where Abbott and Gillard 'just happened to be'.
Embassy co-founder Michael Anderson was at the scene and is seen in a media image (below) gripping a rail as Gillard and Abbott are swept away - leaving Aboriginal eleder Pat Eatoch holding one of her shoes.
The huge numbers of police and press reporters had a field day.
The police believed they had an opportunity to use capsicum spay and throw a few punches and the press had a story to exaggerate - violence - security ... then along comes the well paid Aboriginal 'Yes Man' Mick Gooda ...
ABC News Report 26th January, 2012
Dozens of police and security guards have rescued Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott from a group of angry protesters who had surrounded a Canberra restaurant.
The Prime Minister stumbled as she was rushed to an awaiting vehicle and was helped up by security officials who were confronted by the protesters.
It appears the mob was incensed by remarks made by Mr Abbott earlier in the day in which he said he thought it was probably time to reconsider the relevance of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
The protesters gathered outside the restaurant near Old Parliament House where Ms Gillard was handing out medals to emergency services representatives.
Mr Abbott was also inside the building.
At least 50 police, including the riot squad, were called to the scene shortly after 2.30pm (AEDT).
The protesters, involved in a nearby event to mark the 40th anniversary of the embassy, banged on the three glass sides of the restaurant chanting "shame" and "racist".
The two leaders, protected by police and security officers, escaped out a side door after about 20 minutes.
Protesters chased their car down the road, banging on its roof and bonnet.
There had been false reports that the Prime Minister had been tackled. Ms Gillard's office confirmed she lost her footing, and a shoe, as she was dragged by security.
Tony Abbott incites Protesters
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he understood why the tent embassy was set up "all those years ago". However, it was time it was disbanded, he said.
"I think a lot has changed for the better since then," Mr Abbott said in Sydney on Australia Day. "I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian.
"I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that."
Mick Gooda condemns Protesters
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said he was appalled at the level of disrespect and aggression shown towards the two leaders.
"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."
"It is particularly distressing that this has occurred at a time when we are so close to moving towards cementing respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our constitution" ...
Don't forget your 'Gold Card' on your way out, Mick
ACT Police Sergeant Chris Meagher says no-one was injured in the fracas and he has praised the police response.
"Immediate response - we had about 35 to 45 police respond also with the assistance of uniform police from Parliament House as well," he said.
Some of the protesters scuffled with police after the Prime Minister left but there have been no arrests.
Hundreds of people marched in the capital on the anniversary of the tent embassy, calling for land rights and Aboriginal sovereignty on what many call "invasion day".
Embassy founder Michael Anderson addressed a rally at the site.
"To hell with the Government and the courts in this country. You haven't got a high hope to take us on," he said.
"We will force these issues. Too many of our families have suffered for some bastard to get in the road."
Earlier, Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney that he thinks it is probably time to reconsider the relevance of the tent embassy.
"He said the Aboriginal embassy had to go... we thought no way, so we circled around the building.
Tent embassy founder Michael Anderson
He says he can understand why the embassy was established but he thinks times have changed for the better since then.
"I think the Indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held with every Australian," he said.
"Yes, I think a lot has changed and I think it's probably time to move on from that."
Mr Anderson said the comments were disrespectful.
"He said the Aboriginal embassy had to go; we heard it on a radio broadcast," he said.
"We thought no way, so we circled around the building."
He said the protesters wanted the leaders to clarify their position and whether Mr Abbott was serious about removing the embassy.
"You've got 1,000 people here peacefully protesting, and to make a statement about tearing down the embassy - it's just madness on the part of Tony Abbott.
"What he said amounts to inciting racial riots."