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Happy Australia Day 2012 - celebrate with pepper spray

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Uploaded on Jan 26, 2012

Read this article: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/38027...
26 January 2012: 'Amnesia Day'. WTF happened? People gathered in front of Old Parliament House to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. The peaceful day was suddenly interrupted when someone announced that Tony Abbott was speaking to the press only meters away from the site. (It is important to know that, that very morning, the mainstream media (eg. Sky News) had reported that Abbott had made a provocative statement to the press - that the Embassy should be removed - which predictably caused anger among the Embassy crowd. As it later turned out, the media had distorted Abbot's actual words, which were: "...I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that". The events that followed can be traced back to this sub-standard and incompetent bit of shitty journalism. Whichever way you look at it, Abbott's statement was ill-chosen - given the significance of the day - implying as it did that the Embassy no longer served a vital purpose and that Aboriginal people should get over the past, accept a token apology, and "move on". Nevertheless, if Abbott's actual words had been reported correctly, the Embassy crowd might not have reacted with such anger. Instead, the Embassy crowd rushed to confront the Leader of the Opposition about his inflammatory statement. Within minutes, they had grown and surrounded the glass-walled restaurant, chanting/banging on the windows, disrupting the function (at which PM Julia Gillard also happened to be present). 10 minutes into this rather surreal scenario, Police and Security decided to launch the PM directly from the restaurant into her car - very nearly injuring her - and causing her to lose her shoe. (Commit the memory of that shoe to your minds, dear readers). This sudden event caused the crowd to lose control. Some people attempted to impede the car carrying Abbott & Gillard from leaving, whereupon police reacted with force and threatened the use of batons and pepper-spray, which very nearly escalated the situation. Fortunately, no injuries were incurred.

To add to the above example of crap journalism, news reporters for mainstream channels such as Ten exaggerated early reports from the scene by characterizing it as a violent "riot". In fact no-one attempted to touch the PM or Mr. Abbott. Whilst exaggerating the level of violence, several early reports also failed to mention that the reason for this behaviour was not mere hooliganism, but rather Mr. Abbott's alleged statement regarding the Embassy. By the time that the full picture was reported in later reports, headlines depicting the PM being assaulted by a violent horde of savage natives and feral hippies had already gone around the world.

Whilst the crowd did not behave in the best way, no-one advocated violence and it was clear that no-one - including the PM or Mr. Abbott - felt physically threatened. The whole thing was turned into a spin story which has no-doubt damaged the image of the peaceful and diplomatic mission of the Aboriginal community and its supporters. Worst of all, it gave hundreds of rednecks - who were not present at the event - a perfect excuse to publicly vent their racist invectives against Aboriginal people all over the country. Embassies are about diplomacy, not violence.

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