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Australia PM reunited with shoe she lost during rowdy protest

Lukas Coch / AFP - Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is rushed out of a Canberra restaurant by security agents on Thursday, losing a shoe in the process.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is on firm footing again.

A blue suede shoe that she lost as she was hustled away by security officers from a Canberra restaurant that was surrounded by aboriginal-rights protesters has been returned.

Gillard lost the size-8 shoe off her right foot on Thursday when she stumbled during the rowdy fray, and it was scooped up by protesters. One protester gleefully raised the footwear above her head and shouted, ''Gingerella, come get your shoe.''

On Friday night, someone returned the shoe to a security guard outside the main entrance at Parliament House, AAP reported.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the fracas has led to the resignation of one of Gillard’s press secretaries, Tony Hodges. He acknowledged tipping off protesters that Oppositionn Leader Tony Abbott was going to be at the Canberra restaurant with the prime minister at an award ceremony to mark Australia Day, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The restaurant where Thursday's clash occurred is close to the so-called Aboriginal Tent Embassy, where the protesters had demonstrated peacefully earlier in the day. That long-standing, ramshackle collection of tents and temporary shelters is a center point of protests against Australia Day, which marks the arrival of the first fleet of British colonists in Sydney on Jan. 26, 1788. Many Aborigines call it Invasion Day because the land was settled without a treaty with the traditional owners.

Abbott was the focus of much of the protesters' rage. The Tent Embassy celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday, and Abbott had earlier angered activists by saying it was time the embassy "moved on." Abbott said Friday that his comment had been misinterpreted, and that he never meant to imply the embassy should be torn down.

Meanwhile, the makers of Gillard's now-famous "missing" shoe are hoping to cash in on her Cinderella moment. Melbourne-based Midas plans to release a new version of the shoe dubbed the "Julia," the Herald Sun reported.

Msnbc.com's James Eng and The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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