Australian Parliament apologizes for 'indignity and degradation' inflicted on Aborigines

Eds: AMs. UPDATES with Australian Parliament formally apologizing.

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Associated Press Writer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Aborigines organized breakfast barbecues Wednesday in Outback communities, giant TV screens went up in state capitals, and schools held assemblies that allowed students to watch the telecast of Australia's government apologizing for policies that degraded its indigenous people.

In a historic parliamentary vote that supporters said would open a new chapter in race relations in the country, lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion to apologize on behalf of all Australians.

"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.