News National Commonwealth Games 2018: Queen’s Baton relay delayed by protesters

Commonwealth Games 2018: Queen’s Baton relay delayed by protesters

Indigenous protesters caused the Queen's Baton relay to be delayed. ABC/Frances Adcock, Facebook
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Protestors caused the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton relay to be redirected on Wednesday afternoon in the countdown to the opening ceremony on the Gold Coast.

Around 50 Indigenous demonstrators caused the interruption at The Spit as the baton made its way to the stadium.

“We are calling on the Commonwealth heads of every nation that has come here to demand Malcolm Turnbull to initiate a truth commission,” said one protester uncle Wayne Coco Wharton.

Mr Wharton said the protestors had demands of the Prime Minister.

That the truth commission starts and they are appointed with grassroots black fellas from around this country to head the truth commission.”

The Queen’s Baton relay began about 12.15pm with baton bearer Emma McTaggart continuing along Seaworld Drive, instead of taking the planned route around Doug Jennings Park.

Aboriginal people from around Australia met in Uluru last May to discuss recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution.

In October, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected a referendum to establish an Indigenous advisory body, which was endorsed by the hundreds of influential Indigenous Australians who attended the three-day summit.

Royals welcomed to Brisbane

Several thousand flag-waving and cheering royal fans greeted Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Brisbane before the prince opens the Games later on Wednesday night.

The royal couple touched down in Brisbane on a RAAF plane at 12.20pm, after reportedly spending time visiting friends in Gundagai in country NSW.

Their first stop was Old Government House at the Botanic Gardens for the formal welcome to Australia.

The waiting crowd yelled “welcome” as Charles and Camilla were greeted by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, representing the prime minister.

Prince Charles greets people shortly after arriving in Brisbane. Photo: AAP

After entering Old Government House, the royals and the Cosgroves exchanged some quiet, warm pleasantries, and Camilla smiled at the UK and Australian media contingent as she realised she had been left holding her umbrella.

But she politely declined an offer from a staffer to take it.

The royal couple signed the guest book and posed for an official photo with Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove, before walking into a private area for a chat.

The heir to the British throne inspected the royal guard of honour.

Excited onlookers yelled out “Prince Charles!”, before the royal couple split up to go to opposite sides of the barrier to shake as many hands as possible, with hundreds getting up close to the royals, during a break in the rain.

Prince Charles stopped to speak to Vanessa Cull from Runcorn, asking about the Girl Guides, asking whether it was hard to find leaders these days.

Chris Joyce, from Brisbane, spoke to Prince Charles about the weather.

“I just said that it’s been rather hot lately,” Mr Joyce said.

He said ‘thank goodness the gardens are still here and it hasn’t been built on.”

The tour is the 16th trip to Australia and the seventh to Queensland for Charles, while it is Camilla’s third visit.

It comes at an important time for the British monarchy, with republican sentiment gaining traction in Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who supports an Australian republic, says he is looking forward to catching up with the prince, who he says is a thoughtful, charming and knowledgeable man

“We always get on very well,” he told ABC Radio.

“The prince and I, and Lucy [Turnbull] share a lot of common interests, particularly in terms of urbanism, architecture, planning, environment and ecology.”

Charles will also visit Bundaberg and Cairns during his trip to Queensland, and is scheduled to fly to Vanuatu and the Northern Territory before heading home next week.

-With AAP