Canberra’s ‘sovereign citizen’ protest at Old Parliament House falls flat but leaves behind big clean up

Canberra’s ‘sovereign citizen’ protest at Old Parliament House falls flat but leaves behind big clean up

A planned protest by people promising to “take Old Parliament House” has fallen flat, with police left to clean up piles of rubbish.

A planned protest outside of Old Parliament House has turned out to be a fizzer after a group of so-called “sovereign citizens” failed to show up.

However, federal police remained stationed in the precinct after the group declared on social media they would “take Old Parliament House”.

Earlier, a small group gathered in a city park for speeches by anti-vaccination activists.

In a video posted to social media, protester Bruce Shillingsworth told supporters it was time to “take a stand”.

“We’re here because of our children and our future generation. We are coming to make a stand against the legal regime that are now controlling our lives,” he told the group.

“It’s time to take back what is ours.”

Mr Shillingsworth is a member of the self-styled sovereign citizens group that took up residence outside of Old Parliament House.

The group has caused several disruptions across Canberra since mid-December.

On Friday, his son Bruce Shillingsworth Jr was granted bail after he was charged with aiding and abetting arson over the fire that damaged the 95-year-old building’s facade.

Two other people charged in connection with the fire remain before the courts.

In court, Shillingsworth Snr repeatedly interrupted proceedings and claimed the magistrate had no jurisdiction.

Later, federal police issued the camp an ultimatum to move on or be evicted from the site.

In a statement, an ACT policing spokesman said the National Capital Authority had requested AFP support to clear the camp near the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

“The AFP respects the rights of people to peacefully protest, however camping on grounds in the parliamentary precinct requires the approval of the National Capital Authority.

“Campers have been advised of alternate camping facilities that are available across the ACT.”

Two people were arrested at the scene – one for breach of bail and another for obstructing a public official.

The site where the camp was located is now the source of a major clean up operation, with protesters leaving piles of rubbish for officials to pick up.

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Author: Shirley