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|2012-01-26 - Weird News|
Windsor Genova - AHN News Writer
Aussie premier loses shoe while escaping angry protesters
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AHN) -- Angry aboriginal protesters trapped Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard inside a restaurant in Canberra on Thursday, prompting police and a bodyguard to rescue her. She stumbled and lost a shoe as her bodyguard hustled her to a car.
Some 50 police also secured the Lobby restaurant against the demonstrators and whisked opposition leader Tony Abbott away to safety. He and Gillard were at the restaurant to present National Emergency Medals to 26 local residents who performed heroic emergency rescues last year.
Gillard and Abbott were unharmed and police did not arrest any of the protesters, who tried to confront Abbott inside the restaurant for his comments earlier in the day that their 40-year-old Aboriginal "tent embassy" should be taken down as it has outlived its purpose.
The protesters shouted at Abbott, banged the glass windows of the restaurant and hemmed in the car that drove Gillard away from the scene.
The prime minister later said she was angry at the protesters for distracting from the awards ceremony, which coincided with Australia Day.
The tent embassy outside the Old Parliament House is near the restaurant where the officials were present. Established in 1972, the small semi-permanent structure has been the symbolic site of Aborigines' campaign for sovereignty and land rights in Australia.
Aborigines were staging a demonstration at the tent to mark "Invasion Day," their term for Australia Day, before the incident. Organizers mentioned Abbott's remark and, learning that Abbott was in the nearby restaurant, 200 protesters went there to confront him.
Gillard's security team decided that the prime minister and Abbott should be removed from the restaurant before the situation got out of hand.
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