Former Australian Parliament Building Set on Fire Amid Aboriginal Rights Protest - Photo, Video
The building was home to the country's federal parliament from 1927 to 1988 and is now listed on the national heritage register.
An old building of the parliament in Canberra, which now hosts the Museum of Australian Democracy, caught fire on Thursday amid protests. The incident occurred as indigenous rights activists were gathering outside the museum for an event.
According to Australian Capital Territory (ACT) police commander Linda Champion, officials approved a small smoking ceremony as part of the peaceful protest but it had gotten "a little bit out of hand".
No casualties were reported, and the fire was swiftly extinguished. It is not clear, however, whether the original 1927 doors can be salvaged, and what the severity of the damage inside the building is.
Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has already called the incident an "absolute disgrace” if the fire was deliberately lit, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded that those responsible for setting the blaze be found and punished.
"I am disgusted and appalled by behaviour that would see Australians come and set fire to such a symbol of democracy in this country", he said.
Protesters had earlier lit a fire at the building on 21 December and there have been daily gatherings outside the museum over the past week.