Police on edge despite no-show protest | The Canberra Times

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There is still a large police presence outside Canberra’s Old Parliament House, despite so-called ‘sovereign citizens’ so far failed to show up for a planned protest. Dozens of officers remain stationed outside and around the institution after protesters said they would “take Old Parliament House”. A social media video shows people preparing for protests in a park in Canberra’s city centre, with speeches delivered to audiences of dozens. “Did you see how it rained… and then the sun came out? That’s because we’re on the right side of history and doing God’s work,” one speaker told the crowd. Police largely evicted the protesters’ camp from the park opposite the now-museum on Friday, as the group illegally camped on Commonwealth land. Hundreds of officers came in to dismantle tents and personal belongings at the site and bundle them into a collection vehicle. There were tense clashes between officers and protesters as items were removed and one person was charged with violating bail conditions. The Lore Not Law group — referring to the Indigenous law typically passed through word of mouth — has been embroiled in ongoing protests, with the federal government issuing “eviction notices” at Canberra landmarks including Old Parliament House and The Lodge . After tents were dismantled, protesters marched to the nearby Aboriginal Tent Embassy, ​​calling embassy members “sellouts”. People at the tent embassy were seen shouting back at the group of demonstrators. Embassy representatives have distanced themselves from the group of protesters, accusing them of fostering a “cult-like mentality”. The police operation came after a trial before two men charged over a December 30 protest that saw the doors of the Old Parliament House set on fire. The fire has been linked to members of the protest group. Bruce Shillingsworth Jr and Dylan Wilson were both released on bail after being charged with offenses related to the December 30 protests. Both men deny the allegations. Neither is allowed to enter the Canberra suburb of Parkes, which is where the Old Parliament House is located. Shillingsworth, who appeared in court on Friday, said he tried to disperse the protesters and told them not to proceed. Shillingsworth told the magistrate that his first night in jail, after his arrest on Thursday and bail on Friday, gave him time to think. He said he planned to go to the camp to defuse the situation and look into other avenues for peaceful protest. Australian Associated Press


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