• AFP attempting to evict protesters who have occupied the site since Sunday. (NITV News/Nakari Thorpe)Source: NITV News/Nakari Thorpe
The embassy was set up over the weekend after the Elders and Ngunnawal people stated permission to build on the site had never been sought from Traditional Owners.
Nakari Thorpe, Robert Burton-Bradley

9 Nov 2017 - 10:48 AM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2017 - 12:23 PM

The Australian Federal Police have moved in this morning to try and evict a group of protesters from a tent embassy at the site of the former Lobby restaurant in Canberra.

At least one Elder was removed from the site and taken to the city's police station. It is not clear if he has been charged.

The new tent embassy was established on Sunday by Elders of the Ngunnawal people and activists from the existing Aboriginal Tent Embassy who say the site, which they have renamed the Koori Rose Garden, was built on by the National Capital Authority (NCA) without their permission.

The NCA is a Commonwealth Government organisation responsible for planning and development on Commonwealth land in the ACT.

Arrabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott said the group wanted to resolve the matter peacefully. 

"You just came in here with your heavies and hassled my brother here and even myself. There's no proper consultancy, no nothing, just come in heavy," he said. 

"We wanted to make peace." 

The AFP said they wanted to resolve the matter peacefully as well and had contacted the embassy before their arrival to provide an opportunity for the protestors to leave. 

In a notice posted on the front door the group said rent was owed and that the NCA was being evicted from the land. 

"National Capital Authority, you are hereby given an eviction notice for the Lobby restaurant and Rose Gardens that exist on Ngunnawal Land.

The reason for this eviction notice is:

Your failure to seek permission, seek an agreement, sign a Treaty or Lease the land from the Ngunnawal Original Custodians.

National Capital Authority have neglected to pay rent for the period from 1968 to 15th February 2017.

Your outstanding rent due is $7,644,000 (Seven Million, Six Hundred and Forty Four Thousand Dollars) calculated at $3,000 a week for 49 years. Dated: 15 February, 2017"

The move comes after NCA acting chief executive Andrew Smith met with Elders at the site yesterday with AFP officers and tried to persuade them to leave.

Mr Smith and a colleague walked away after thirty minutes of discussion which failed to resolve the matter. 

"Breaking into that building is illegal and we would request that you, the people occupying the building, leave as soon as possible," Mr Smith said. 

But elders and Aboriginal Tent Embassy representatives disputed Mr Smith's claims saying the occupation of Aboriginal land is also illegal. 


"We've never ceded our sovereignty on the land here. It's always a fight for our mob to get recognition, to who the rightful owners of the land are," Ngunnawal elder Billy Tompkins said. 

Today, Mr Smith said the matter had been resolved. 

"This matter has now been resolved and I have no further comment." 

The site has been vacant since last December when the Lobby restaurant closed.

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