“No Pride In Genocide”: Massive Crowds March In Invasion Day Protests Around Australia
Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
Tens of thousands of people have turned out to Australia Day protests around the country, marching in solidarity with Indigenous Australians and expressing their opposition to a national day that marks the beginning of a genocide.
Protesters marched through capital cities across Australia calling for the national day to be moved to a different date, or abolished altogether. They also drew attention to an array of issues affecting Indigenous Australians, from high incarceration rates and deaths in custody to paternalistic government policies and laws.
In Melbourne, hundreds attended a dawn service for the thousands of Indigenous Australians who were murdered during the Frontier Wars. By mid-morning, thousands (organisers estimate as many as 80,000) had gathered outside Victorian parliament before marching down Bourke Street and occupying the intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets.
“This country stops for a horse race, it stops for an AFL grand final, it stops for the Queen’s birthday and it stops for an Anzac service, and we don’t have a time where this country stands still to reflect on first peoples of this country and the pain and suffering we’ve endured since colonisation,” said former Northcote MP and Gunnai-Kurnai and Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe.
At least a thousand turned out to invasion day dawn service in Naarm. List of massacres in Victoria was read out, with a minutes silence pic.twitter.com/2idshadrh2
— Laura Murphy-Oates (@lauramoates) January 25, 2019
A large crowd has gathered at the #InvasionDay rally at Parliament House in Melbourne. Speeches are due to start soon. There’s a heavy police presence but it seems smaller than previous years – perhaps they have learned that this march, while noisy, is peaceful. pic.twitter.com/RhZBIvu1hQ
— Calla Wahlquist (@callapilla) January 25, 2019
— Claire Capel (@capelstanley) January 26, 2019
In Sydney, protesters congregated in Hyde Park before marching to Yabun festival in Victoria Park chanting slogans like “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” and “Always Was, Always Will Be, Aboriginal Land”.
“We don’t [just] need to change the date, we need to change the systemic problems, we need to change the country,” NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge told the crowd.
— Chat (@atatat236) January 26, 2019
— Alex McKinnon (@mckinnon_a) January 26, 2019
In Canberra, protesters marched across the Commonwealth Bridge towards the Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Parliament House.
Hundreds have turned out for an Invasion Day Rally in Canberra who marched through the city to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for a solemn ceremony to honour ancestors @NITV #AlwaysWillBe pic.twitter.com/q3zZzeT4V6
— Nakari Thorpe (@nakarithorpe) January 26, 2019
Further Australia Day protests took place in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Hobart.
— Lucy Murray (@lucymurray53) January 26, 2019
We are sending a message to Canberra calling for new maturity and new honesty from our leaders to change the date from this invasion day. Today is #InvasionDay not #AustraliaDay Bob Brown at Hobart’s Change the Date rally. #politas pic.twitter.com/owCjTSgywv
— Bob Brown (@BobBrownFndn) January 26, 2019
There was even action overseas, with a group of protesters displaying a banner on Westminster Bridge in London calling for Australia Day to be abolished.
Protesters hang a #AbolishAustraliaDay banner off Westminster Bridge ahead of #AustraliaDay to show solidarity with Aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander peoples in Australia. #InvasionDay2019 #changethedate #changethenation #7DaysOfResistance #breaking pic.twitter.com/WXnAJcZr4H
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) January 25, 2019
Feature image via Rae Johnston in Sydney