Brisbane Sovereign Embassy standing strong after eviction notice

Nathan Paull Nine News 14th May, 2012

Protestors at an Aboriginal Tent Embassy are preparing to stand their ground despite being evicted from an inner-Brisbane park.

The "Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy" has been set up in Musgrave Park in South Brisbane for more than two months with permission from Brisbane City Council.

But Embassy members say council on Monday gave them an eviction notice ahead of the Paniyiri Greek Festival to be held at the weekend.

Embassy member Boe Spearim says he and other protesters were given a 12 hour eviction notice on Monday afternoon, which is due to expire early Tuesday.

However, Mr Boe says embassy members have no plans to leave and are prepared to stay put even once police arrive.

"We are just exercising our sovereign right," he told AAP.

The Tent Embassy has issued a statement calling on supporters to call Brisbane City Council to show their support for the cause and to go to Musgrave Park as a show of solidarity.

"Supporters are urgently needed on the ground at Musgrave Park," the statement reads.

Mr Spearim told AAP organiser of the Paniyiri festival were supportive of their cause and it was only council that wanted them gone.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Musgrave Park had been closed so preparations could prepare for the Greek festival.

"I met with the protestors onsite on Saturday to listen to their views and personally informed them that they need to close their protest," he said in a statement.

"The protestors have been there for more than two months and I think they have had a fair go but it is time to hand the park back to the Brisbane community."

Brisbane Sovereign Embassy

Press release

Brisbane City Council to try to forcibly remove Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy
supporters urgently needed at Musgrave Park

14 May 2012

Brisbane City Council has turned its back on negotiations with the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy over its right to exist in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.

This afternoon at around 4pm, Luke Bell from Brisbane City Council told the Embassy by phone that negotiations were off and that Council would be forcibly removing the Embassy in the near future.

At a meeting at the Embassy last Saturday, Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk tried to confuse the issue by saying the Embassy had to move for this Saturday's Paniyiri Festival despite the fact that he and Council were fully aware that festival organisers had publicly stated in South City News that they had no problem with the Embassy's presence during the festival.

Mayor Quirk refused to guarantee that violence would not be used against the Embassy. Video of this can be viewed here

Not only had Paniyiri organisers begun negotiations with the Embassy on how to work together but local firefighters organising an upcoming regional firefighter expo in Musgrave Park had also approached the Embassy to discuss how they could share the Park.

Since being established over 2 months ago, the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy has welcomed thousands of Brisbane residents to film nights, workshops, family fun days and cultural events around the sacred fire that has been established under Aboriginal law and custom.

The Brisbane Sovereign Embassy has been established to assert Aboriginal Sovereignty over the land, sovereignty which has not been legally extinguished under British, Australian, International or Aboriginal law.

We are urging supporters to contact John Jordan from Brisbane City Council on 0421 346 021 to make it clear that the people of Brisbane want the Embassy to stay.

Supporters are urgently needed on the ground at Musgrave Park.

Further enquiries:
Chris on 0478 804 334
Boe on 0431 525 924

Audio File  AUDIO:  Brisbane Sovereign Embassy - Wayne (Coco) Wharton ABC 612 Bris. 15/05/12