Two weeks after the Australian cricket team demonstrated the true level of integrity in Australian sport, the Commonwealth Games — dubbed the Stolenwealth Games — opened on the Gold Coast on April 4.
About 100 protesters highlighted Australia’s colonial history and the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples as the opening ceremony got under way. The protest was organised by a national committee including Indigenous activist group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) and the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy.
Ruby Wharton from WAR told the group: “This game is held on stolen land and built on stolen wealth.”
Boe Spearim, also from WAR, said: “There's many common things we have with other Indigenous nations.
“The first thing is our colonial history. But the second and most important thing is the history of resistance, history of survival, history of always coming back and fighting and fighting.
“That's why we're here today: to continue to fight. We're on the front line and we say: 'No justice? No Games!'.”
Protesters carried banners saying “Colonisation is not a game”, “We have survived” and “Not the Queen's land”.
Activists were buoyed by an event earlier in the day when the Baton Relay passed by the protest camp and Aboriginal activists were able to block the road, resulting in considerable media coverage.
“We decided to sit ourselves on the road and give those who came to participate a little bit of a history lesson, a little bit of an awareness lesson," Wharton said. "To tell this mob that we are here to make a change and make awareness and we are going to be here for the next 10 days doing the exact same thing."
In the evening, an overbearing police presence worked overtime to keep protesters off the road and away from the stadium. This included forcing people to march through a muddy soccer field.
Ten activists attempted to enter the opening ceremony believing they were offered tickets but were pushed back. Three people, including former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller, were arrested on the night.
A protest camp has been established on the Gold Coast for the duration of the Games to provide a hub for "demonstrations, public forums and discussions as well as workshops for cultural sharing and resistance concerts".