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Saturday, April 1, 2000
Aboriginals vow to protest over government report

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Aboriginal leaders are threatening to disrupt the Olympic Games after a revelation that an Australian government document denied there ever was a "stolen generation" of Aboriginal children.

 New South Wales' 118 Aboriginal land councils already have voted to march in protest on Sept. 15, the first day of Olympic competition, The Sun-Herald said Sunday.

 "All bets are off," Lyall Munro, Olympic protest campaign delegate to the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, told the newspaper. "Aboriginal people will rise up in this country and show the world how racist Australia is."

 The protest, and the establishment of an Aboriginal "embassy" in Sydney, are among dozens of plans to gain international coverage of the plights of Aborigines, the newspaper said.

 It was revealed Saturday that a federal government submission to a Senate inquiry into the stolen generation said the policy of separating children from their families had affected no more than 10 percent of the Aboriginal population.

 Aboriginal leaders have been pushing for years for a formal apology from the government, particularly for a policy of taking Aboriginal children from their parents and placing them in white families under the misguided belief that Aborigines were doomed.

 From 1910 until the 1970s, some 100,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their parents, forming what has become known as the "Stolen Generation."

 Charles Perkins, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission director and also a "stolen generation" child, said the claim by Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Herron would force Aboriginal people into direct conflict with the white community.

 "Certainly the Olympic Games will now be in jeopardy," Perkins said.

 "We did not want to target the games, but we have nothing to lose now. We have racism at the highest level of government now, destroying the relationship between the whites and the blacks."
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