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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 19:00 GMT
Aborigine demands right to spear officer
Aboriginal dancers
Mr Bloomfield says the Aboriginal ceremony was defiled
test hello test
By Phil Mercer
BBC reporter in Sydney
line
An Aboriginal activist is seeking permission from Australia's High Court to spear a senior police officer to death because he desecrated a sacred fire.

Aborigine man
Australia's aborigines are fighting for equal rights
It follows an incident last year, when the police filed a writ to the court, ordering a group of Aborigines engaged in a religious ceremony in the capital, Canberra, to extinguish their fire.

Indigenous campaigner Darren Bloomfield has claimed the senior officer in charge "has incurred the death penalty under Aboriginal law".

A police investigation into the incident at the Aborigines' so-called "tent embassy" on the lawns of the Old Parliament House is under way.

Confrontation

The confrontation between Australian Federal police and Aboriginal activists took place during a religious ceremony at the makeshift camp last July.

The tent embassy was established 30 years ago to highlight indigenous land claims and to further the campaign for a treaty to end discrimination with white Australia.

In a writ before the High Court, Darren Bloomfield, who describes himself as an Aboriginal "warrior", alleges Detective Superintendent Brian Hepworth "desecrated a fire ceremony for peace and justice" by demanding the flames be extinguished.

Mr Bloomfield said the Detective Superintendent should be charged and tried under what he called white law and then handed over to his people where he would face swift indigenous justice and be speared to death.

Determination

However extreme these demands are, Mr Bloomfield has insisted he is serious and intends to see justice done.

A police spokeswoman said the allegations against the officer were being investigated.

She said Mr Hepworth was a highly respected member of the Australian Federal Police force and had been for more than 30 years.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Geraint Hughes
"The 'tent embassy' has been a frequent target for police action"
See also:

01 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Prince Philip's spear 'gaffe'
03 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Aborigines fight dingo cull
04 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Aborigine treaty plans dismissed
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