Dispossessed Frontman Reportedly Arrested After Burning Australian Flag At Sydney Protest

Birrugan Dunn-Velasco, the frontman of Aboriginal rights band Dispossessed, has reportedly been arrested after burning an Australian flag at an Australia Day protest in Sydney today.

New South Wales Police has confirmed to Music Feeds that a 20-year-old man was arrested during a protest in Ultimo today at around 1pm, after allegedly igniting an Australian flag. He was taken to Redfern Police Station.

Police say officers used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, but one officer was injured and taken to hospital. A woman in the crowd also suffered minor injuries, and was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital.

Buzzfeed Australia‘s Indigenous Affairs Reporter Allan Clarke reports that the man who was arrested was Dunn-Velasco, but police haven’t publicly confirmed this.

Velasco was reportedly giving a speech to protesters about the deaths of Aboriginal people following colonisation, when he began to pour lighter fluid on an Australian flag.

A photo taken during the incident sees Dunn-Velasco (pictured in the singlet) being tackled by police. Images have also surfaced of Dunn-Velasco pouring lighter fluid on an Australian flag. Video taken after the incident has also been posted to social media, and can be viewed below.

Police say the flag-burning was “an isolated incident in an otherwise peaceful demonstration”.

UPDATE 27/01/17: Birrugan Dunn-Velasco has shared further footage from the alleged incident which shows that the flag was not in flames. A man can be seen pouring a liquid on a flag before being intercepted by police.

As reported by Mashable, a witness posted on Facebook that police action was “premeditated” and fire extinguishers were used before anything was set alight and “unloaded straight into peoples faces.”

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