There was a heavy police presence outside the Games as around 100 protesters chanted and marched. Picture: Britt Ramsey
There was a heavy police presence outside the Games as around 100 protesters chanted and marched. Picture: Britt Ramsey

Violence breaks out at Commonwealth Games stadium

DYLAN Voller was arrested at the Commonwealth Games after allegedly trying to storm the stadium as a protest turned ugly during the opening ceremony.

The former Northern Territory youth detainee was demonstrating for Aboriginal rights when a group allegedly rushed the Gold Coast venue where the ceremony was taking place and were wrestled into handcuffs by police.

Voller and two women were charged with one count of public nuisance each after several fights broke out. The 20-year-old man will appear at Southport Magistrates Court on May 3.

Aboriginal protesters are arrested by police during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Picture: Britt Ramsey
Aboriginal protesters are arrested by police during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Picture: Britt Ramsey

Police said they would not tolerate disruptive behaviour during the Games after clashing with demonstrators after non-ticket holders allegedly tried to get into Carrara Stadium.

"Around 7.30pm, a group of people were protesting in a carpark outside of the stadium," said Queensland Police in a statement. "It will be alleged that some protesters attempted to gain unauthorised entry into the venue.

Demonstrators were held down after allegedly trying to storm the Gold Coast stadium after a day of peaceful protests turned ugly, with scuffles breaking out. Picture: Britt Ramsey
Demonstrators were held down after allegedly trying to storm the Gold Coast stadium after a day of peaceful protests turned ugly, with scuffles breaking out. Picture: Britt Ramsey

"The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest lawfully and peacefully in Queensland but will not tolerate disruptive behaviour during the Commonwealth Games and associated events."

Two Queensland women aged 21 and 30 were also charged with one count each of public nuisance and are due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on April 23.

The drama came after a day of mostly peaceful "Stolenwealth" protests turned ugly, with scuffles breaking out as around 100 demonstrators faced off with police on horseback.

The demonstrators carried banners reading "Colonisation Is Not A Game" and chanted "always was, always will be Aboriginal land" as they waved Aboriginal flags.

They were pushed back by police as they tried to enter the stadium, chanting "No Justice, No Games". They had earlier been directed by police into a field across the road from the main entrance via a soggy paddock and car park.

Indigenous activists displayed signs reading ‘Stolenwealth Games’ and ‘Colonisation is not a Game’ as they protested for Aboriginal rights. Picture: Britt Ramsey
Indigenous activists displayed signs reading ‘Stolenwealth Games’ and ‘Colonisation is not a Game’ as they protested for Aboriginal rights. Picture: Britt Ramsey

A smaller group halted the Queen's baton relay briefly earlier Wednesday by blocking a road near Main Beach before the route was amended for the final 14 baton bearers to continue.

Yugambeh elder Ted Williams told the Gold Coast Bulletin the baton relay roadblock at The Spit was disrespectful to elders who had granted permission for the activists to protest on Yugambeh land.

Former youth offender Dylan Voller was one of three arrested and charged with being a public nuisance. Picture: Emma Murray
Former youth offender Dylan Voller was one of three arrested and charged with being a public nuisance. Picture: Emma Murray

"That is disrespecting the elders because the elders specifically asked them to act respectfully and peacefully while on our land," he said.

"If they did that (block the baton relay), then in my view they have been disrespectful to us."

Opening ceremony artistic director David Zolkwer said the ceremony was inclusive and showing "how, as the indigenous people of Australia tell us, we are all custodians of the same world."

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg told a news conference earlier Wednesday that organisers "welcomed the right to peaceful protest."

Indigenous protests also coincided with previous Commonwealth Games in Australia in 1982 at Brisbane and in 2006 in Melbourne. Activists are planning more demonstrations throughout the Games.

If you know more, contact Policelink on 131 444 or you can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, on 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au.

- With wires

     


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