[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 16:02 GMT
Aborigines' fury over topless ban
Aboriginal women dancing topless during the opening ceremony for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney
Aborigines say the whole world has seen their topless dancers
A row has erupted in Australia over a police ban on a traditional Aboriginal dance featuring topless women.

Aborigines are furious that police told dancers from the remote community of Papunya to stop practising in a public park in the city of Alice Springs.

In response, the women said dancing topless was part of Aboriginal culture dating back thousands of years.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission said it would file a formal complaint over the ban.

If the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is unsuccessful in reconciling the two sides, the Aborigines could file charges in the federal court under Australia's Racial Discrimination Act.

Demand for apology

The Central Land Council, an Aboriginal representative body, said police should immediately apologise for their actions.

"This is part of our culture and thousands and thousands of people around the world have seen Aboriginal ladies dancing without their tops on television, theatres and many public occasions," CLC chairman Kunmanar Breaden said.

But police defended their ban, saying the officers had nothing to apologise for.

"While police are sensitive to cultural issues which arise from time to time, we support the actions of one of our members to move the women on," Acting Commander of Southern Region Trevor Bell said.

Aunt of Sydney riot teen jailed
20 Feb 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Australia's lost generation
16 Feb 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Australia
03 Jan 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Australia
04 Feb 04  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific