Protesters have set fire to the Old Parliament House building in Canberra after clashing with the police.
The protesters have been conducting demonstrations in front of the Old Parliament House for more than a week and started a traditional smoking ceremony on Thursday.
ACT police commander Linda Champion said they allowed the small smoking ceremony but the situation turned violent and they were forced to disperse the protesters.
“When ACT police went to respond, that’s when it was greatly escalated. If there is peaceful demonstrations, we fully support that. If there is any criminal activity, we will be taking action,” said Champion.
Protesters clashed with police and were pushed back by police using pepper spray.
By 11:46 am the font of the Old Parliament House caught on fire but firefighters had it under control in 20 minutes.
The fire severely damaged the building’s entrance while the smoke and water from the sprinkler system damaged the interior.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but one protester told SkyNews that the fire was to send a message.
“We had to burn that door down to get our message across,” said the protester.
No arrests have been made yet in connection to the fire while the building has been closed off for investigation and repair.
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