Breaking News

Australia Day Greeted With Aboriginal Rights Protests: Call it Invasion Day

Airtel Nigeria Call services
Australia Day Greeted With Aboriginal Rights Protests- Call it Invasion Day
Australia Day Greeted With Aboriginal Rights Protests- Call it Invasion Day
Social sharing

Thousands of protesters have gathered around the country, calling for changes to the way the nation marks Australia Day.

Key points:

  • Thousands gathered at Victoria’s Parliament House to protest Australia Day this morning
  • Some wanted a date change, others called for the holiday to be abandoned
  • About two dozen people gathered to protest Australia Day on London’s Westminster Bridge

January 26 marks the anniversary of Captain Arthur Philip arriving with the First Fleet in Port Jackson, New South Wales, a date now seen by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as “Invasion Day” or “Survival Day”.

Those at Saturday’s rallies said the day marks the theft and dispossession of Indigenous people, and should not be celebrated.

They gathered by the thousands throughout Australia, holding up banners on the steps of Parliament House in Victoria, marching through Hyde Park in Sydney and converging on Brisbane’s CBD.

Hundreds of people stand on a natural amphitheatre, each raising one fist in the air.  PHOTO: Protesters held their fists in the air at the rally in Brisbane. (ABC News: Lucy Murray)

What were the protesters saying?

As thousands of others spent the day celebrating Australian culture, some of those protesting said they wanted the national holiday’s date changed, while others called for Australia Day to be abolished altogether.

Aboriginal woman Lareesa, who attended the Melbourne event with her family, said this year was the first she attended an Invasion Day event.

She said she was in favour of abolishing Australia Day altogether.

A woman sits holding a hand-written sign saying "today is a day of mourning".PHOTO: Protesters’ signs highlighted the historical significance of January 26 from the perspective of Indigenous Australians.(ABC News: Gemma Hall)

“No matter what day you change it to it’ll still be a day of oppression and mourning for us, so I think deleting it all together is the way to go,” she said.

Malachi, who marched with his wife and son, said he was representing his Aboriginal heritage and was calling for a change of date.

“I feel we need to still celebrate everyone being together as well, I’m still happy to celebrate Australia Day as long as it’s on another day and under a different name,” he said.

“I just feel like the Aboriginal culture is not being recognised,” he said.

Two people stand with indigenous flag t-shirts in Melbourne.PHOTO: Some protesters called for a date change, while others wanted Australia Day scrapped altogether. (ABC News: Gemma Hall)

Bundjalung woman Deekeala Glew, who attended the Brisbane rally, said Australia Day should be celebrated on December 17, the date when in 1965 all Indigenous people were given the right to vote.

“[January 26] is a day of genocide and there is no pride in that,” she said.

A woman wearing a headband with the Aboriginal flag on it. PHOTO: Ms Glew wants Australia Day’s date to change. (ABC News: Lucy Murray)

Ms Glew said the turnout at the rally was heartening.

“I’m proud, I’m proud we’ve all come together like this,” she said.

The protest took place just metres from where today’s official Australia Day parade festivities will take place.

Many protesters carried banners and large props with slogans like “no pride in genocide”, while dozens of police monitored the area.

A giant Aboriginal flag is carried by members of a large crowd as they walk across a bridge as part of a protest.PHOTO: People carry a flag at an Invasion Day protest in Brisbane’s CBD. (ABC News: Julie Hornsey)

In Sydney, more than 5,000 gathered in Hyde Park and listened to Indigenous leaders speak about the pain caused by the national holiday being held on January 26.

The rally then turned into a 2-kilometre march from the park, with the streets filled with a sea of Aboriginal flags, placards and people.

A group of people standing with Aboriginal flag banners that read "intervention = land grab'.PHOTO: Many people gathered at Hyde Park in Sydney. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins )

As the march moved through the city, bringing traffic to a standstill on some of the busiest streets, the protesters loudly chanted “always was, always will be Aboriginal land”.

Emily Wightman-Gala, 21, said she came to the rally because she would like to see the date of the national holiday moved.

“It’s insensitive, and a difficult day for my family,” she said.

A young woman with face paint poses for a picture in front of a large crowd of protesters.PHOTO: Emily Wightman-Gala was among the thousands protesting and wants the date of Australia Day moved. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins)

The mood was sombre in the Perth CBD where hundreds were calling for changes to the way Australia Day is celebrated.

There were speeches and musical performances at the Invasion Day rally and participants marched through the city to the Supreme Court Gardens, where others were gathering for the annual fireworks display.

People in a large crowd hold signs and look towards a speaker as they protest.PHOTO: Hundreds rallied in Perth calling for changes to the way Australia Day is celebrated. (ABC News: Madeline Palmer)

Demonstration held in London

On Friday about two dozen people gathered on Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament in London to protest against Australia Day.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Alongside an Aboriginal flag, the group unfurled on the bridge railings a 25-metre banner calling for an end to the celebration of Australia Day.

The group was not moved on by police, with the banner remaining in place for about 20 minutes.

A woman dressed in a warm coat stands in front of the Westminster Bridge protest.PHOTO: Eda Seyhan said the protest was not designed to attract a large group. (ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

“Our point is not really to get a large crowd here in Westminster but to have our voices heard there in Australia,” one of the activists Eda Seyhan said.

“We are here with a visible sign of solidarity for those protesting in Australia on Australia Day, to show our solidarity with Indigenous people in Australia who see this as a day of mourning.”

-ABC NEWS

UBA Bank
About Bisi Badmus 21 Articles
Bisi Badmus is a writer, inspirational speaker, reporter and blogger. Freelance reporter and publisher for 9News Nigeria

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*

%d bloggers like this: