• Four protesters have faced court over protests from last month's Commonwealth Games (NITV News)
Indigenous activists have planned a series of peaceful protest marches during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
By
Laura Morelli

Source:
NITV News
28 Feb 2018 - 3:25 PM  UPDATED 28 Feb 2018 - 3:28 PM

Kooma activist, Wayne Wharton has organised a series or protest marches to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, or as he terms it, the 'Stolenwealth Games'.

"We call this the Stolenwealth Games because we were invaded. We are a country controlled by force," he tells NITV News

Throughout the event, which will be held at Queensland's Gold Coast, The Stolenwealth Games Protest Working Group will be holding demonstrations, public forums, discussions, as well as culture workshops and resistance concerts.

"People think Aborigines shouldn't interfere with something like the Commonwealth Games. I say it's about time we let the world know what's going on here."

Uncle Wayne says their main purpose is to encourage Australia and other so-called invaded countries to decolonise.

"It's really using the political games, using the games as a political platform to get our voices around the world and our voice around the country," he explains.

"The Commonwealth came here, invaded our land, committed genocide and persecuted out people, which continues to lead to racism, poverty, stealing of land and inheritance. They wanted to change the laws that restricted our people to live on concentration camps."

This isn't the first time Indigenous people have utilised public sporting events as a platform to fight for justice, change and to have their voices heard. In 1982, First Nations people from across the country converged at Brisbane to protest the Commonwealth Games, demand recognition of Aboriginal Land Rights and demonstrate against the Queensland Government’s oppressive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protection Act. Leading the protests was Gumbaynggirr activist, Gary Edward Foley. 

"People think Aborigines shouldn't interfere with something like the Commonwealth Games. I say it's about time we let the world know what's going on here," he said at a rally in 1982.

Nearly 40 years on and Wayne says the movement hasn't changed and it's still the will to be free in the country you live in.

"Our movement started when the first white man stepped foot on this country and our first black warrior speared him on the beach. It's the right of our people, we are born free, we're only incarcerated by the systems that govern us and right now this country is occupied by force and has been since 1770," he says. 

First Nations peoples from across the world are expected to march in solidarity, from the Maori collective, Indonesia, New Caladonia to people from across Australia, Wayne wants the mix of people from different walks of life to stop the colonisation happening.

With the Royals expected to arrive for the Commonwealth Games Wayne says they have a role to play in this 'to ensure the Commonwealth sees Indigenous people take their rightful place in the world'. 

"It's being subject to redneck, colonial laws that keep us trapped in poverty and welfare is not the plight that we should have. Our rights are to the wealth of this country. Just because we're black doesn't mean we have to be poor." 

For the First Nations people that are participating in the games Wayne says he and his group wish them all luck.

"We don’t want them to get distracted but they know what they’ve got to and they also know what we’ve got to do for our mobs." 

Wayne says it's about time Australia takes responsibility and respects First Nations peoples. 

"Native title is a heap of bullshit. How can you have two laws? There was one here first and then it became terra nullis." 

"The Turnbull government has shown nothing but insult to our people in the last few weeks and it's about time that changes. Right now there’s a gap between Aboriginal people and the Federal government, it couldn’t be wider."

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