Aussie PM gets her missing shoe back

Jan 28, 2012, 08:06 IST | Agencies

Aborigines, who made headlines yesterday for scooping up Julia Gillard's shoe during a protest, return it but not before burning the national flag

Aborigines, who made headlines yesterday for scooping up Julia Gillard's shoe during a protest, return it but not before burning the national flag 

Both sides are blaming each other after an incident that saw Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard rushed out of an event by her security team on Thursday. The riot police were called to form a human shield around Gillard and escort her out of a Canberra restaurant after hundreds of angry protesters surrounded the building.

Day out: Australian PM Julia Gillard seems unruffled by the recent events
and was pictured enjoying the men's semifinal match between Andy
Murray and Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park
yesterday. She was viewing the match with tennis legend Margaret Court,
 after whom a court has also been named. Pic/AFP

Gillard stumbled in the fray and lost a shoe, which protesters scooped up after the rowdy demonstration in the capital Canberra.

Gingerella moment
However, aboriginal rights protester Gwenda Stanley returned the shoe Gillard had lost as she hurried to her car the day before. "With the authority of the sovereign people of the Aboriginal tent embassy, I stand before you as an ambassador of goodwill. I therefore wish to return the shoe that was left behind in the violent commotion created by your security team," Stanley said.

But the protests did not stop there, as about 200 demonstrators marched to the parliament building in the Australian capital Canberra on Friday and burned the national flag. They carried messages and chanted , 'Always was, always will be Aboriginal land'. They also insisted that they were not to blame for Thursday's violence.

PM speaks
However, the prime minister did not see what took place in the same light. "I've got absolutely no troubles at all with peaceful protests, and generally the tent embassy has been a peaceful protest.
What I utterly condemn is when protests turn violent the way we saw the violence yesterday, and particularly disrupting an event which was to honour some extraordinary Australians, did leave me very angry," said Gillard.

Michael Outram, national manager of protection for the Australian Federal Police, said police may file charges against some of the protesters.

Meanwhile, in an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, Tony Hodges, one of her media advisers was forced to resign after it emerged he had tipped off someone about Opposition leader, Tony Abbott's presence and comments at the function and that person had then informed the protesters.

Gillard's spokesman said the staff member had not encouraged violence but the tip-off was 'an error of judgment.'

eBay pulls missing 'Gillard Shoe' amid bids
eBay had put up Australian PM Julia Gillard's missing shoe for sale on the site but later retracted the decision. The shoe listed as Julia Gillard Shoe with a starting price of $148 had attracted bids exceeding $2000 minutes after it was put up. "Up for auction is the Julia Gillard Missing shoe... A right foot -- size 8 -- Midas -- Glorify" the seller's statement said. "You are bidding on a used shoe. Please bear in mind also this is a single shoe, not a pair, so it would be difficult to walk in, unless you're the PM," he added. An eBay spokesperson said the sale had been taken down because sellers can only list items they own, or items the owner has given permission to sell.

Cashing in
The makers of Julia Gillard's famous 'missing' shoe are cashing in on her Cinderella moment, with plans to release a new version dubbed the 'Julia'. The company is considering releasing a line of the same shoe, but with one very special modification -- a strap to keep it firmly fixed on the foot.

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