A leg of the Commonwealth Games baton relay was held up on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday as indigenous Aboriginal activists demanded Britain’s royal family members ask permission to visit “stolen” land.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, landed in Brisbane on Wednesday ahead of the opening ceremony, due to start at 10am BST at Carrara Stadium.
The relay, officially called the Queen’s Baton Relay, was blocked by a few dozen protesters in the suburb of Southport, causing a delay of about an hour.
The protest was organised by a coalition of indigenous rights groups under the banner of “Stolenwealth Games”.
“Today what we wanted to do was to make it clear to the mob, make it clear to the world and make it clear to our people that we’re standing strong,” a protester told host broadcaster Seven Network.
“And we don’t want nothing of the Commonwealth here. They’ve stolen the land, built this country on stolen wages, built this country on the blood and bones of our people.
“And it’s about time that history is acknowledged and about time that the royal families who are responsible for it all - that they come down here and get at our level and ask to be here on our country. That’s what needs to happen.”
Aboriginals inhabited Australia at least 50,000 years before Britain's "First Fleet" sailed into Sydney harbour in 1788 and declared the land unoccupied.
There are about 700,000 aboriginal Australians in a population of 23 million, but they suffer disproportionately high rates of suicide, domestic violence and imprisonment, tracking near the bottom in almost every economic and social indicator.
Further protests are expected outside the Carrara Stadium during the opening ceremony.
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