Police arrest protesters as Brisbane Originals try to hold sacred land

 PETITION to Mayor Graham Quirk - 'Allow Sovereigns to return to Embassy'

Brisbane Tent Embassy activists have been released from the police watch house on bail and have gathered next to Musgrave Park, the official Embassy site.

Earlier today about 100 sovereigns and their supporters marched to Parliament House in Brisbane after being evicted from their Sovereign Tent Embassy where more than 200 police moved in and arrested over 30 people.

Mr Sam Watson, an Embassy spokesperson said the use of the police 'as a para-military group' harks back to the days of conservative premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

Previous Peports

Andree Withey and Francis Tapim ABC May 16, 2012

Police have dragged some protesters away from their Aboriginal tent embassy at Musgrave Park at South Brisbane.

There were dramatic scenes of confrontation between police and protesters, as the campsite was cordoned off and surrounded by officers.

The embassy has been in the park since March but the Brisbane City Council wants the protesters to move to make way for the annual Greek festival held in the park.

All the protesters have now been forced out of the park and many are still on the surrounding streets, saying that they are preparing to march on Parliament.

Two protesters were arrested earlier this morning after hundreds of police moved into the park just before dawn and surrounded the protesters.

The Brisbane City Council says it did not have a problem with the movement until it started expanding and became a free campsite for anyone wanting to stay there.

The council says with the Paniyiri Greek Festival due to be held in the park this weekend, the embassy has to go.

Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk says he is not kicking them out altogether and has offered them a nearby section of the park.

Aboriginal leader Sam Watson is among those supporting the protesters.

He says this morning's police action is overkill by Mr Quirk and Premier Campbell Newman.

"We say to Campbell Newman and Graham Quirk - shame, shame, shame, shame," he said.

"Musgrave Park right now must be the safest place in Australia.

"We've got our own police force of 250 heavily armed police."

This morning dozens of protesters stoked a large bonfire in the park, vowing to stand firm.

South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad says this morning's tensions could have been avoided.

"The Greek and the local Indigenous communities have lived together harmoniously for very many years," she said.

"A solution could have been reached, but the first time the Lord Mayor turned his mind to this was on Saturday when he turned up and asked people to move on.

"The last time a leader evicted Aboriginal people from Musgrave Park was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1984."

Earlier today, organiser Wayne Wharton said the 30 protesters had been preparing for police to move in this morning.

"Basically what people have got to understand, this is not a campground - this is a stand-by First Nation's people or embassies right around the country," he said.

"Whether [people] like it or not, or Greek Australia, or any other ethnic immigrant that's come to this country, we own this country, we're fighting for our birthright."

Earlier Report - 16th May 2012

Police have arrested two protesters at an Aboriginal tent embassy at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane.

The embassy has been in the park since March but the Brisbane City council wants the protesters to move to make way for the annual Greek festival held in the park.

This morning dozens of protesters have stoked a large bonfire in the park and say they will stand firm.

Hundreds of police moved into the park just before dawn and surrounded the protesters.

Police have also started dismantling tents in the precinct.

Negotiations are continuing between police and the tent embassy organisers.

They are trying to find a compromise, which may involve reducing the number of tents and protesters at the site.

The Brisbane City Council says it did not have a problem with the movement until it started expanding and became a free campsite for anyone wanting to stay there.

The council says with the Paniyiri Greek Festival due to be held in the park this weekend, the embassy has to go.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says he is not kicking them out altogether and has offered them a nearby section of the park.

South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad says this morning's tensions could have been avoided.

"The Greek and the local Indigenous communities have lived together harmoniously for very many years," she said.

"A solution could have been reached, but the first time the Lord Mayor turned his mind to this was on Saturday when he turned up and asked people to move on.

"The last time a leader evicted Aboriginal people from Musgrave Park was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1984."

Earlier today, organiser Wayne Wharton said the 30 protesters had been preparing for police to move in this morning.

"Basically what people have got to understand, this is not a campground - this is a stand-by First Nation's people or embassies right around the country," he said.

"Whether [people] like it or not, or Greek Australia, or any other ethnic immigrant that's come to this country, we own this country, we're fighting for our birthright."