Police officers are dismantling tents near Old Parliament House after a group of protesters ignored a 4pm deadline to leave the precinct.
The demonstrators, who were camping near the Aboriginal tent embassy but are not associated with it, had been gathering in the area for weeks.
At least 200 officers moved in to the site about 4:20pm and began removing camping equipment and taking the tents apart.Officers, including search and rescue staff with power tools, also removed several fixed structures.
The equipment was packed up and loaded onto trucks.
A police message had been broadcast throughout the day to the several dozen people at the campsite, warning that they were trespassing and their belongings would be seized.
“ACT Policing respects your democratic right to peacefully protest at this location. Unauthorised camping within the Parliamentary Triangle, however, constitutes a breach of Commonwealth law,” the message said.
“By 4pm on this date … all tents, caravans, vehicles and other camping equipment must be removed from this area.
“You may as an alternative set up a declared camping area.”
ACT Policing said in a statement that its action followed a request from the National Capital Authority to remove all structures and vehicles that lacked permits.
Police officers have made no indication that they are seeking to make any arrests, and some demonstrators complied with the request to move on, disassembling their own tents.
The protesters are demanding sovereignty and refuse to recognise Australian laws. Some oppose COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Aboriginal tent embassy and Canberra Indigenous leaders have said previously that they want the protesters to leave the area.
As police moved in, protesters at the scene stood in a group and used clapping sticks, while one man yelled into a loudspeaker: “there’s no authority or jurisdiction over this land”.
Late last month, the doors of Old Parliament House were set alight during the protests.
Source: Thanks msn.com