Politics

No ‘storm’ at Old Parliament House after Richard Jarrett, aka Bumajin Gumbaynggiirr, clashes with magistrate | The Canberra Times


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“Sovereign citizens” have not put into action supposed plans to “storm” Old Parliament House on Saturday, instead marching to the new parliament building and laying roses in a peaceful protest. The forecast storm failed to strike hours after a man arrested when police dismantled a nearby campsite clashed with a magistrate in court, telling her “you may speak” after claiming she had “no jurisdiction”. Tensions have been rising in the Parliamentary Triangle in recent weeks as protesters, many with ties to anti-vaccination movements, camped near the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which is not associated with the group. Police on Friday removed tents and other structures from the area occupied by the protesters, who had been living on parkland in breach of Commonwealth law. But for the large number of officers who returned on Saturday morning in a bid to head off any “storming” of Old Parliament House, the area was largely deserted. In the afternoon, however, about 100 people gathered opposite the building and walked past it to the current national parliament. Police formed two lines there and allowed women and children through the first one to lay roses near the front doors to Parliament House, where the second group of officers stood. Protesters then took turns to speak through a megaphone, one dismissing COVID-19 as a “head cold” and another rubbishing the vaccines designed to protect people against it. One woman said the roses had been laid in memory of children she claimed had been killed by “that poison they call a vaccine”. An ACT Policing spokeswoman said only one arrest had been made in connection with Saturday’s protest activity. A man spotted driving on the lawns near Old Parliament House was taken into custody for allegedly driving while disqualified. Members of the protest group, some of whom have been banned from Parkes after being charged over a December 30 fire at Old Parliament House, have recently been trying to evict officials from government buildings in the hope of establishing a “people’s council”. They claim there is no evidence of “national sovereignty” and that the federal government is merely “a corporation”. One “sovereign citizen” arrested during Friday’s campsite clearing, Richard Leslie Jarrett, spoke about this idea in the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday. He challenged magistrate Beth Campbell, telling her “you may speak” after insisting she had “no jurisdiction”. “I don’t need your permission, let me assure you,” Ms Campbell told the 49-year-old man. Mr Jarrett, who appeared from a remote room, told the court he did not “claim any legal names” and he was in fact called Chief Bumajin Gumbaynggiirr. Prosecutor Lauren Knobel said Mr Jarrett had agreed to police bail conditions banning him from being in Parkes, but he was found there and arrested for the breach about 6pm on Friday. The court heard the bail conditions were attached to charges of trespassing at The Lobby Restaurant and possessing a long spear in public without a reasonable excuse on December 24. When Ms Campbell read those allegations to Mr Jarrett, a self-described “sovereign man”, he did not enter pleas. “I rebut any allegations of presumption of law,” he said four times. The self-represented defendant also spoke over Ms Campbell when she referred to him as Mr Jarrett. “I’m Chief Bumajin Gumbaynggiirr,” the man told her. The magistrate replied: “Good on you.” Challenged on whether she was “being sarcastic”, Ms Campbell admitted she was “a little bit”. Mr Jarrett did not take that issue further, saying: “I’ll forgive you.” After Ms Knobel told the court she would not be applying to have Mr Jarrett’s bail revoked, Ms Campbell granted his release. The magistrate also varied the bail conditions to allow Mr Jarrett to return once to Parkes, in the company of police, to collect his belongings. Mr Jarrett is due to face court again on February 9. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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