Police break Aboriginal picket line

Victorian police led government officials through a blockade set up by residents of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in eastern Victoria, the Age said on March 23.

Aboriginal women from the community set up the peaceful blockade on March 8 — International Women’s Day.

Organisers have vowed to keep the blockade until Victoria’s Indigenous affairs minister, Jeanette Powell, agrees to meet with the community.

At the start of the blockade, the women released a statement that explained their demands.

“As from today the shareholders and residents of Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust blockaded the road to Lake Tyers. No persons or governments are allowed to come on to the trust until governments sit down and listen to our statement of claims resolve the situation.

“Health service employees and the school bus are the only exceptions.

“We are sick of the Northern Territory style intervention imposed on us.

“Our elders fought for the land (so that Aboriginal people could have a home to call our own) to be handed back in 1970 as freehold title to the Aboriginal people after a long struggle.

“We now are in 2011 and once again are being dictated by government whose policies on us have once again failed.

“The state and federal governments’ 10-point plan to ‘Close the Gap’ in Aboriginal communities is discriminatory. We have no rights as Aboriginal people or as shareholders of the trust. We are being harassed and intimidated.”

The Age said other community concerns include the role of the government-imposed administrator in Lake Tyers and delays in promised housing upgrades.

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