Today WA Police followed up on their Commissioner’s comments yesterday that he was “fed up” with the presence of people at the Indigenous tent Embassy, and followed orders to move in military formation, some with weapons drawn against a small group of men women and children.
At one stage a mounted police officer towered over a young woman and baby who wer already surrounded by foot and bike cops
Spokesman for the Embassy, Greg Martin, says the kids especially were traumatised by what was esentially a military assault and moved away from camp to another part of the island.
He says efforts to talk to the police commander in charge were ignored and they just carried out their orders without regard for the people in front of them.
Below I’ll post some audio grabs of my interview with him… the first is in response to a recent confrontation between people at camp and a TV crew where people apparently abused the Journo and obstructed the cameraman.
I don’t know the full details of that incident which was highlighted in mainstream media, but to give it context, mainstream media has been less than fair in reporting events on the island.
For instance, highlighting an incident where rocks were allegedly thrown by Indigenous people at a passing boat.
What wasn’t reported were the many incidents of abuse, theft and throwing of missiles directed at the Embassy people, including kids.
As Greg explains, they have documented and reported to police the daily incidents that media chooses to ignore, and no one wants to know.
So maybe cut them some slack if some react badly to cameras & mics shoved in their face by a seemingly uncaring or biased media. (btw… the journo involved in that incident is an ex colleague and I know him to be a gentleman, unlikely to have deliberately provoked the response he got, but then I wasn’t there and don’t know what led up to it )
Also below the Picture is a statement from respected UpperHouse MLC Robin Chapple on the Embassy.
Click the arrow/triangle just below for a 45 second statement from Greg Martin on the abuse his people have endured over the past 6 weeks.
Greg Martin describes the “military” style assault on men women and children. He also confirms that all of Heirisson Island is an officially declared Indigenous Embassy.
Greg says only about a dozen Nyoongah people survived the European invasion 190 years ago.
Robin Chapple MLC
Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region
Greens: Tent Embassy activists have right to stay at Heirisson Island
22 March 2012
Greens MLC Robin Chapple today called for calm in the face of demands to have Aboriginal activists cleared from their tent embassy at Heirisson Island.
“I call on the Premier and City of Perth to respect the right of peaceful protest, and allow the tent embassy activists to continue to gather and practice culture on Heirisson Island.
“Heirisson Island is a public park of significant cultural importance, and particularly at this time while the State Government is in negotiation about settlement of Noongar native title, it is important that the government does not silence these voices.
“The tent embassy has been a peaceful gathering, drug and alcohol free by the activists’ insistence. There is no pressing reason why the tent embassy should be cleared.
“Allegations of rock throwing is a separate matter, and should be dealt with as any other complaint to the police is handled, it doesn’t require the forceful disbanding of the Tent Embassy.”
- WA ‘tent embassy’ remains defiant (news.theage.com.au)