Australia Invasion Day protests held across nation and world to challenge Australia Day date

04:50  26 january  2020
04:50  26 january  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Australian government describes Australia Day as a day to "celebrate all the things we love about January 26 is also the day that thousands of people across the country become Australian citizens. One is May 27, the date in 1967 that Australia held a referendum to include Indigenous

Massive crowds protest at Invasion Day rallies across Australia . Men draped in Aussie flags have Invasion Day protests are a relatively new phenomenon but have experienced explosive support Anti- Australia Day protesters hold a banner saying "Abolish Australia Day " over the side of the

a person sitting in a park: Gwen Williams-Heckling travelled for 10 hours to attend the Sydney rally. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins)© Provided by ABC NEWS Gwen Williams-Heckling travelled for 10 hours to attend the Sydney rally. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins)

Rallies are being held across the country to oppose the celebration of Australia Day on January 26, which protesters say should be a day of mourning.

Invasion Day or Survival Day demonstrations have gained momentum in recent years and coincided with a push to move Australia Day to a date considered more inclusive.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the First Fleet's arrival in Port Jackson, New South Wales, which is regarded by many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as the beginning of colonial oppression.

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Rallies held across Australia to mark Invasion Day – video. Melbourne’s Invasion Day rally On Friday, when the Invasion Day march reached the barricades that had been pushed aside after “To those who are suggesting that we change the date , for those who are suggesting we hold this event

Thousands of people across Australia have joined indigenous people to protest the celebrations. Protesters marched through central Sydney, calling on the government to change the date of Australia Day and chanting: “always was, always will be aboriginal land.”

Thousands of people have gathered, or are gathering, for Invasion Day rallies in the nation's capital cities including Sydney, where demonstrators have congregated in a packed Hyde Park.

Invasion Day© ABC Invasion Day

Many protesters are wearing T-shirts featuring the Aboriginal flag, and are carrying signs and placards.

Invasion Day© ABC Invasion Day

The rally started with a smoking ceremony before speakers made a plea to stop black deaths in custody and increase Aboriginal ownership of land.

Bundjalung elder Gwen Williams-Heckling travelled for 10 hours from Casino in NSW's north to attend the rally.

"January 26 is a bad day, a hurtful day, but we come here for solidarity," she said.

"Together we draw strength and celebrate our continuing culture despite our dispossession.

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The Invasion Day protest march will begin at 10.30am, with crowds to gather outside Parliament House on Spring Street before marching down Bourke and Swanston streets toward Flinders Street station. The theme of this year’s march is not change the date but abolish Australia Day .

Thousands take to the streets during ' Invasion Day ' protests against the date of Australia Day ' Invasion Day ' protest marches are gearing up in major cities around the country on Australia Day Protesters will demand the date of Australia Day be changed from January 26 to another occasion

"We need a new day because we can never celebrate the day of invasion."

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This year, the protests have again gone global, with a group in London gathering at the statue of Captain Cook at The Mall, holding placards with such words as "no pride in genocide" and "sovereignty never ceded".

The group, London Australia Solidarity, said it stood "with First Nations people".

"London is the seat of empire and represents the beginning of colonialism," the group tweeted.

Large rallies are also expected in Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart where protesters have marched along Elizabeth Street, headed for the Parliament House lawns.

In Adelaide, a Survival Day event has been organised at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide's CBD.

Institute chief executive Dennis Stokes said while many might regard the event as an occasion for shame, it was not necessarily meant to be confrontational.

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The annual Invasion Day protest march will be held later in Melbourne's CBD at the same time as the city's official Australia Day Parade. Celebrations will roll on with the annual Australia Day Festival at Kings Domain Gardens from 11am and evening entertainment at the Docklands.

Invasion Day protests : human rights observers to monitor Melbourne rally. This article is more than 1 year old. Interaction between police and protesters in previous years has been confined to holding the rally back from interrupting the official City of Melbourne Australia Day parade, which begins at

Mr Stokes said it was instead focused on cross-cultural understanding.

"We don't see it as a protest, we see it as an inclusive event for the whole community, not just the Indigenous community, and we want to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture," he said.

"We just show that we're here, we survived and our culture has survived as well.

"We want people to come down, especially non-Indigenous people, we want them to come down and have a look and see what we do."

Mr Stokes said Tandanya — which is described as Australia's oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre — did not have a firm view on whether Australia Day should fall on another date.

"People have differences of opinion. Most people think that it's a day that should be changed but I think if we have a healthy debate about it we can figure out what to do," he said.

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