Thousands protest ‘invasion’ on divisive Australia holiday | Indigenous Rights News & More Trending News


Thousands of individuals have marched in cities throughout Australia, rallying in help of Indigenous rights and protesting in opposition to marking their nation’s nationwide day on the date that the British colonial fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour greater than two centuries in the past.

In Sydney, the capital of New South Wales – Australia’s most populous state – giant crowds gathered within the metropolis’s central enterprise district on Thursday, with some folks carrying Aboriginal flags and chanting “Australia Day is dead”.

Indigenous activist Paul Silva mentioned the nationwide holiday – which some label “Invasion Day” – ought to be abolished.

“If someone invaded your home, murdered your family, and stole your land, I can 100 percent guarantee that family would not be celebrating that day,” he advised the gang.

“I don’t know how it makes sense to any citizen of this country to go out and have a barbecue and celebrate genocide,” he mentioned.

Indigenous poet Lizzie Jarrett mentioned Sydney was “ground zero for a genocide of First Nations people”.

“You think we’re angry? Wouldn’t you be angry?” she requested the gang.

Indigenous Australians have lived on the Australian continent for no less than 65,000 years, however have suffered widespread discrimination and oppression for the reason that arrival of the British in 1788. Australian historian Lyndall Ryan has estimated that greater than 10,000 Indigenous folks had been killed in 400 separate massacres since British colonisation first started.

At current, some 880,000 folks out of Australia’s inhabitants of 25 million determine as Indigenous.

They had been banned from voting in some states and territories till the Sixties and lag behind different Australians on financial and social indicators in what the federal government calls “entrenched inequality”.

Their life expectations are additionally years shorter than different Australians they usually endure disproportionately excessive charges of suicide, home violence and are way more more likely to die in police custody.

In the Australian capital, Canberra, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese marked Australia Day with a flag-raising and citizenship ceremony the place he honoured the nation’s Indigenous folks.

“Let us all recognise the unique privilege that we have to share this continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture,” the prime minister mentioned.

But whereas acknowledging that it was a “difficult day” for Indigenous Australians, he mentioned there have been no plans to alter the holiday’s date.

An annual ballot by market analysis firm Roy Morgan launched this week confirmed practically two-thirds of Australians say January 26 ought to be thought-about “Australia Day”, largely unchanged from a 12 months in the past. The relaxation consider it ought to be “Invasion Day”.

Amid the controversy, some corporations have adopted flexibility across the observance of the holiday. Australia’s largest telecoms firm, Telstra, this 12 months gave its employees the choice to work on January 26 and take one other day without work as a substitute.

“For many First Nations peoples, Australia Day … marks a turning point that saw lives lost, culture devalued, and connections between people and places destroyed,” Telstra chief govt officer Vicki Brady wrote on LinkedIn.

Protests in opposition to Australia Day additionally befell in different Australian state capitals, together with Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from the rally in Brisbane, mentioned momentum for abolishing Australia Day has grown through the years.

“People here are saying this is a day of mourning,” she mentioned. “They are rallying in protest against the celebrations of modern Australia, on a day where they believe was a huge displacement of the First Nations people. So this group is certainly growing in numbers. Polls have shown that the younger generations are increasingly supporting this.”

People hold a banner as they take part in the annual "Invasion Day" protest march in Sydney
People maintain a banner as they participate within the annual ‘Invasion Day’ protest march by the streets of Sydney on Australia Day [Robert Wallace/ AFP]

This 12 months’s holiday additionally comes as Albanese’s centre-left Labor Party authorities plans a referendum on recognising Indigenous folks within the nation’s structure and requiring session with them on choices that have an effect on their lives.

The public will vote on the change – referred to as the Indigenous Voice to Parliament – in a binding referendum later this 12 months.

There is presently no point out of Indigenous Australians within the structure, which was adopted in 1901. And the proposal to recognise Indigenous Australians within the constitution was a pledge the Labor Party took to a normal election final May when it ended nearly a decade of conservative Liberal-National coalition authorities.

But altering the structure is troublesome, requiring nearly all of votes in a majority of states.

The feat has occurred solely eight occasions in 44 makes an attempt for the reason that federation got here into being in 1901.

A profitable referendum would deliver Australia in step with Canada, New Zealand and the United States in formally recognising Indigenous populations.

Some Indigenous Australians have additionally voiced opposition to the proposal.

Several folks at Sydney’s Invasion Day rally carried a banner that mentioned: “Vote no to referendum. We deserve more than a voice.”

In Melbourne, Indigenous activist Uncle Gary Foley mentioned “the voice” would solely “be cosmetic”.

“Like lipstick on a pig, it will not address the deep underlying issues that still pervade Australian society and that primary issue is white Australian racism,” he mentioned.

Thousands protest ‘invasion’ on divisive Australia holiday | Indigenous Rights News

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Thousands protest ‘invasion’ on divisive Australia holiday | Indigenous Rights News

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Thousands protest ‘invasion’ on divisive Australia holiday | Indigenous Rights News

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