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Thursday, August 10, 2000
Aboriginal leader fears violent protests

  SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The head of a prominent Aboriginal committee said Thursday she fears protests by Aboriginal groups during the Olympics could turn violent.

  Evelyn Scott, head of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, said Olympic authorities risk provoking a violent response from some groups because of their handling of the issue.

  "I now have concerns about what's happening in terms of protests and the Olympics," Scott said.

  She commented after the Olympic Coordination Authority threatened to shut down the Indigenous Cultural Center at the Homebush Olympic venue if it became the site for protests.

  She was critical of the Sydney organizing committee's decision to give control of the pavilion to a local Aboriginal land council, bypassing a federal advisory group.

  "If you're looking at shutting things down, well you're asking for a violent protest," Scott said.

  A spokesman for the Olympic organizing committee said organizers had reached an agreement with the local land council that there would be no protests at the cultural pavilion.

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