Australia police detain dozens of aboriginal

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By Arti
Date  17 May 2012
Australian police have broken up a protest camp in the state of Queensland, arresting around 31 aboriginal rights activists protesting government policies.

The clashes erupted on Wednesday after police used “excessive force” to dismantle the camp set up by dozens of aboriginal activists in Musgrave Park in the city of Brisbane two months ago.

Occupants had declared the camp an aboriginal tent embassy erected to protest against mining on traditional lands.

Protesters accused police of "overkill" after more than 200 officers were deployed to break up the 80-strong camp.

Local aboriginal activist Sam Watson told reporters that the protesters would hold a rally in front of the parliament house, where police are already gathering.

He said they wanted to speak with the premier of Queensland to tell him "face to face what he's done wrong.”

"He didn't need to have this mass number of police here with their guns and their tasers to close down a peaceful protest,'' Watson said in Musgrave Park, as police stood in rows in the background.

Queensland state police chief, Superintendent Brent Carter, claimed that Brisbane City Council had asked the police to disperse the protesters from the park to make way for a Greek community festival this weekend.

Carter said "regrettably some arrests were made" after police failed to reach a compromise with protesters.

Aborigines, whose cultures stretch back tens of thousands of years, are Australia's most disadvantaged minority, with shorter life expectancy and much higher rates of imprisonment and disease than the general population

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