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AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES PROTEST CHANGES IN LAND LAW

By Reuters / October 10, 1990



SYDNEY

About 300 Aborigines threw rocks and bottles at police and stormed into the grounds of the New South Wales parliament yesterday to protest against changes to laws governing land rights. A police spokeswoman said that the protesters tore down a section of ornate iron fencing surrounding the legislature and broke into the grounds, clashing with a cordon of officers.

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Riot police later pushed the crowd back onto the street, arresting 11 of the protesters.

``This is a minority group that feels its power base has been eroded,'' Nick Greiner, the state's premier, told reporters after the melee.

A spokesman for the premier's office said that the protesters were angry at a deal reached between the Aboriginal Land Council in Australia's most-populous state and its conservative government over changes in indigenous land-rights laws.

Aborigines had opposed the changes, but both the land council and the opposition Labor Party accepted them after a large number of amendments, the spokesman said.

Some Aborigines regard the deal as a sellout.

The new legislation was expected to be approved in the state's upper house last night.

Aborigines represent about two percent of Australia's 17 million population. -30-{et