Beattie open to meeting Games protesters
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
Three people have been charged with creating a public nuisance during Games indigenous protests.Gold Coast Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie is open to meeting with indigenous protesters after three people were charged with public nuisance outside the opening ceremony.
The trio, including former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller, were arrested at Carrara Stadium on Wednesday after attempting to storm the venue’s gates to get into the event.
Mr Beattie pointed to the Games’ philosophical commitment to indigenous reconciliation through their ceremony, but said he would make himself available to open dialogue with protesters.
“I have no difficulty meeting with them at some point if that is helpful,” the former Queensland premier said on Thursday.
“We are committed to their right to protest. As an organisation, we’ve demonstrated our seriousness and genuineness about engaging with indigenous people.”
Police have charged Voller, 20, and two Queensland women, aged 21 and 30, with one count each of public nuisance.
Games officials denied suggestions a handful of tickets were available for the protesters.
Voller will appear in Southport Magistrates Court on May 3 while the two women will face the same court on April 23.
The trio’s arrest came after a day where indigenous protesters left their mark on the Games, halting the Queen’s Baton Relay before the opening ceremony protest.
Approximately 30 protesters affiliated with the Stolenworth Games indigenous group formed a human chain across Seaworld Drive, near Doug Jennings Park, at Main Beach.
Their actions delayed the start of the final leg of the relay, forcing organisers to amend the route to ensure the last 14 baton bearers completed their legs.
Protests are expecting to continue throughout the Games, especially with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting venues and events on Thursday.
Mr Beattie denied the protests were a slap in the face to the Games’ work with indigenous people.
“I don’t want to get into politics – I’m happily retired from it – but this nation doesn’t have a great record if you look at how indigenous people have been treated,” he said.
“Frankly we need to reach out to people and part of that is being tolerant and understanding and accepting people the right to not only express their view.”
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg said his organisation had no issue with the demonstrations.
“The Games, similar to past Commonwealth Games, has welcomed the right to peaceful protest,” he said.
Indigenous protests are not unknown at Commonwealth Games in as they were staged in Melbourne in 2006 and the 1982 Brisbane Games.