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  • Aboriginals protest Commonwealth Games.

    Aboriginals protest Commonwealth Games. | Photo: Stefan Armbruster / @StefArmbruster

Published 12 April 2018

One of the protest's central demands is the formation of a Truth Commission for Australia to face its colonial origin and its consequences.   

Aboriginal activists in Australia, have rebranded the 2018 Commonwealth Games currently underway on the country's Gold Coast, the “Stolenwealth Games" to bring attention to Australia’s colonial history of pillage and genocide and to shed light on the injustices and discrimination the country's Indigenous population face.

IN PICTURES: 
The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Begin

Commonwealth Games, formerly known as the British Empire Games, is an international sporting event similar to the Olympics, in which the 53 states that form part of the Commonwealth of Nations, former British colonies.   

In the Facebook post calling on citizens to join the protests, a national committee from by a number of social movements and individual campaigners, wrote: “The 2018 Stolenwealth Games will be re-invading our shores on the 4th-15th of April 2018 for the fourth time on the Gold Coast, QLD. Each time "Australia" has hosted the games thousands of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, as well as other groups who have been oppressed by the crown, have united to resist colonial activity and authority.”

On the first day of protests, during the April 4 opening ceremony, three demonstrators were detained after confrontations with police on horseback, they were charged with being a public nuisance.

Local media, Gold Coast Bulletin, reported demonstrators stating “we protest to set the record straight, to tell the narrative from our side, not let the media have the narrative.”

Protesters also seek to establish an Australian Truth Commission.

“It is time for Australia to take its place as an adult on the world stage and to face the ongoing consequences of its birth… We will submit a formal request to prime minister to table an agenda to form a Truth Commission,” one protester told the Bulletin.

On April 9, a group of approximately 50 protesters interrupted the live broadcast of the Seven Network's Sunrise program. The two hosts acknowledged their presence saying "as you can see, we're being joined by some Aboriginal protesters who are protesting throughout the Commonwealth Games. They are protesting land rights and genocide, being quite noisy."

The hosts did not offer a space for the First Nations peoples to express their demands and concerns. Instead, they complained about the contents of some of their chants. "Some of the languages leaves a lot to be desired. We are trying to block out some of the more angry, nasty and vile bits of this,” host David Kick said on air.   

Demonstrators have been camping in the northern end of the tourist strip in the Golden Coast and will continue protesting until April 15, when the games are scheduled to end.

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