Tent Embassy Protest: What People Are Saying

27 January 2012 | 00:00 - By Hannah Hollis

Cadet journalist Hannah Hollis takes a look at media coverage of the Tent Embassy protest.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said he was “appalled” at the level of disrespect and aggression shown towards the two leaders: “Aggressive, divisive and frightening”.

He also said the actions yesterday went “too far” and questioned the timing of the protests “when we’re so close to moving towards cementing respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution”.

Similarly, former ALP President Warren Mundine said the protesters overreacted to Tony Abbott’s comments: “The words were pretty timid”.

Comedian & broadcaster Meshel Laurie took to popular blog Mamamia, urging people not to let the dramatic images harden hearts against the Indigenous community. 

Meanwhile controversial Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt said the movement yesterday was “shameful” and “the reconciliation movement move must end”, stirring heated debate on the Herald Sun website

Protester and tent embassy co-founder Michael Anderson said “police overreacted” but also told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell the protesters “misinterpreted Mr Abbott's comments” .

ABC Radio’s Michael Edwards took a different angle, saying the incident raises questions about how effective the PM’s security is.

Amy McGuire reports in Crikey that media reports of an ‘angry mob’ or protesters were inaccurate - echoing commentary in online magazine New Matilda: ‘The Mob Violence That Wasn’t’. 

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has refused to retract his comments, maintaining they were “pretty timid” remarks. He condemned the protests and labelled the actions of protesters “un-Australian”

Protester Pat Eatock told The Australian PM Julia Gillard had one week to collect the shoe she lost in the protest: “If she doesn’t meet with us I will be putting it on eBay”.

Comments made on Living Black’s Facebook page remained divided, with many in support of the protest action. Others questioned the protesters’ tactics, while some expressed distrust of media accounts on the event.

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