Watch: Old Parliament House set on fire in Canberra, Australia

Watch: Old Parliament House set on fire in Canberra, Australia
Watch: Old Parliament House set on fire in Canberra, Australia. Credit: YouTube

Watch: Old Parliament House set on fire in Canberra, Australia.

WATCH – The Old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia has been set on fire by protestors, causing extensive damage to the front of the building – in what they have called a “smoking ceremony”.

Emergency services – including five fire crews and around 50 police officers – were called to the building, which is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy, just before noon (local time) on Thursday, December 30.


The building was evacuated as a precaution and crews extinguished the blaze.

“There has been ongoing protest activity at the front of Old Parliament House throughout the past fortnight,” ACT police said in a statement.

“Old Parliament House was evacuated earlier today after protestors started a fire at the front doors of the building – this was quickly extinguished by ACT fire & rescue.

“A police investigation into the cause of the fire has commenced.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “disgusted and appalled” by news of the fire.

“This is not justified. This is not how Australia works,” he said.

“It is appalling and I think it is disgraceful, and I think that the authorities should act swiftly in accordance with the law and people should face consequences of their actions.”

Protestors are said to have been from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and have been protesting the site for over a fortnight.

An official statement condoning the actions was released by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy following the fire.

“The Aboriginal Tent Embassy does not condone the actions of protesters who occupied the steps of Old Parliament House. Although we support the concept of nonviolent direct action, we do not condone the destruction of public and private property,” it read.

“The actions of such protesters conducting a “Smoking Ceremony” was done so without the knowledge, consent, or mandate of the Embassy Council and Traditional Owners responsible for the regulation of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

“In 28 days, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – our theme is 50 Years of Resisting and Still Fighting. We plan to hold a three-day event on the 25th, 26th and 27th of January where we will honour and mourn our past, celebrate our survival and strategise for the next 50 years.”

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