Aboriginal Tent Embassy set to stay
BY JENNIFER THOMPSON
SYDNEY -- With a Land and Environment Court injunction looming, an agreement between police, South Sydney Council and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was reached on August 23 which allows the embassy to stay in Victoria Park until the Olympics. Embassy representatives were able to negotiate away 10 of the council's 11 demands, leaving only the issue of the number of tents in the park, which is still being discussed.
The embassy moved from outside Old Parliament House in Canberra to its new, temporary home in the park next to Sydney University in July. It quickly became an organising base for Aboriginal activists and their supporters.
Spokesperson Bonny Briggs said the embassy is not anti-Olympics and supports the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The Sydney embassy has the support of a number of Aboriginal organisations, including the ATSIC Regional Council and the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern.
“We intend to stay here right up to and through the Olympics so we can raise awareness about Aboriginal issues. We have the support, we have the numbers and we are staying put”, Briggs said.
Public support for the embassy continues to flow in. A “Sleep-out for Sovereignty” organised by the Indigenous Students Network on August 19-20 attracted 80 participants.
Political and material support is still needed, however, and supporters are encouraged to drop in. A phone list has been set up to mobilise support in the event of further threats to the embassy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your phone number.