Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stumbled and was caught by a security guard as riot police helped her force a path through a crowd of rowdy protesters during a ceremony to mark Australia’s national day.
About 200 supporters of indigenous rights surrounded a Canberra restaurant and banged its windows while Ms Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott were inside at an awards ceremony.
About 50 police escorted the political leaders from a side door to a waiting car. Ms Gillard stumbled, losing a shoe as she made her way down a flight of steps from the building. Her personal security guard wrapped his arms around her and supported her to the waiting car, shielding her from the angry crowd.
Australia Day marks the arrival of the first British colonists in 1788. Many Aborigines call it “Invasion Day”.
The politicians had been at a presentation to winners of the national emergency medal when the protest erupted. Ms Gillard was apparently unharmed during the ordeal, but her security team had to call in police to create an escape route after activists started to bang on windows and shout abuse.
A video from the scene appeared to show a security guard suggesting the situation was deteriorating and the politicians needed to leave.
Protesters claiming to be the victims of racism tried to chase the car and banged on its bonnet as it was driven away.