Police confront Aboriginal march during Canberra ANZAC day

Aboriginal people were prevented from laying a wreath to commemorate the Frontier wars. Photo: Sovereign Union/FB.
Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia released this statement on April 25.

***

Organisers of the undeclared Frontier War’s parade condemned the actions of the Australian Federal Police during the Canberra ANZAC day parade for refusing to allow 200 Aboriginals and their supporters to peacefully march up ANZAC Avenue to lay a wreath to commemorate all those who died in wars, including those who died in the 18th, 19th, and 20th century Frontier Wars defending their country.

Despite obeying police directions, Senior Sergeant Adrian Crank threatened to arrest three Aboriginal people.

Sergeant Crank claimed that the RSL had not issued a permit to the Frontier War’s organisers, but according to Aboriginal organiser, Ghillar Anderson, the RSL and AFP had allowed Aboriginal people over the past four years to conduct a peaceful commemoration.

What was different this time? Why did the AFP turn this normally peaceful event into an ugly confrontation incident?

Anderson said that the AFP had overstepped their authority. Both the AFP and RSL must explain their actions and offer an apology.

“It was impossible but to conclude that our commemoration group was subject to overt racism, particularly as Fred Hooper, a decorated submariner, was prevented from peacefully leading the group up to to the war memorial. I was appalled when Senior Sergeant Crank said: 'This is not your day'.

"This appalling behaviour by the AFP and that he would now seek advice in respect to whether what had happened constituted an act of racism by the RSL, the war memorial and the federal police”.

The scene today in Canberra clearly demonstrated that despite promoting that WWI was to fight for our freedoms and right to exist without fear of tyranny, it has been made very clear that these rights and freedoms do not apply to us as Aboriginal peoples.

This action has shown to us that reconciliation is a long way off and that any thought of us being recognised in the Australian constitution is to steal our patrimony.

The police barricade illustrated the division between us and white Australia. We have a long way to go in human rights in this country.

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Issue