A media advisor to prime minister Julia Gillard promptly quit after the fracas, admitting to tipping off the activists.
Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot got caught up in the protests on Australia Day when an activist at the Tent Embassy told protesters Abbott was at a function only a few hundred metres away.
The protesters were incensed by remarks made by Abbott earlier in the day that he thought the Tent Embassy had become irrelevant.
Gillard and Abbott had to flee an awards ceremony at a Canberra restaurant when it was surrounded by about 200 protesters who had been marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Embassy.
Dozens of police were called to hold off the protesters who were banging on the glass walls of the restaurant, shouting “shame” and “racist”.
Police hustled both leaders to the Prime Minister’s car, with Gillard stumbling and losing a shoe as she was dragged to safety.
A commercial radio station this morning reported that a member of Gillard’s staff had tipped off the protesters.
However, the Prime Minister’s office responded to clarify that the advisor told another person, who then passed on the information to a member of the Tent Embassy.
It was an error of judgment and the advisor deemed it best to resign.
However, the government staff member did not in any way encourage violence or demonstration, Gillard’s office insisted.
Today in Australia, more than 200 activists marched from the Tent Embassy to Parliament House in Canberra, chanting outside the front doors, “always was, always will be Aboriginal land”.
The activists, including children, then burnt an Australian flag to loud cheers.
One of the children said:
“I don’t want my kids to grow up and not have parents. I don’t want my kids to be taken away from me when I’m older,” she said.
“I’m heaps angry with the flag and the Government; it’s stupid.”