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Former Aussie parliament building damaged by protest fire

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia’s former parliament building caught fire during a rights protest yesterday, officials said, with the flames causing limited damage.

The blaze occurred when police broke up a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony by activists at the building’s entrance.

The Canberra building was home to the country’s federal parliament from 1927 to 1988 and now houses the Museum of Australian Democracy.

The museum said in a statement that it is “closed until further notice while we address fire damage caused by protesters today”.

There was no immediate news about the extent of the damage, but images showed flames and smoke coming from wooden double-doors at the building’s entrance.

The vast majority of the edifice remained untouched, and the blaze was said to have been quickly extinguished.

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