Australia: Thousands Attend 'Invasion Day' Protests

    Australia: Thousands Attend 'Invasion Day' Protests
    Last updated Jan 26, 2023
    Image credit: Getty Images [via Axios]


    • Thousands of Australians on Thursday protested the nation's Australia Day holiday, which commemorates the first British fleet to land in the nation on Jan. 26, 1788. Opponents of the holiday call it "Invasion Day" due to the impact colonialism had on Indigenous peoples.[1]
    • Protesters gathered in the business district of Sydney — the capital of Australia's most populous state of New South Wales — with some people waving Aboriginal flags and others partaking in an Indigenous smoking ceremony.[2]
    • The protesters, whose demands included abolishing the holiday, were warned that they could be fined or jailed for violating limits on large crowds. However, many of them wore masks and adhered to social distancing rules, and only a few arrests were made.[3]
    • The protesters focused on the history of oppression of the Aboriginal people, whose current population of roughly 880K dates their continental roots back at least 65K years. One historian estimates that 10K have been killed in 400 separate massacres since British colonization first began.[4]
    • The protests, which were met with pro-Australia Day counter-protesters — come as the nation is set to vote on a referendum adding Indigenous representation in Parliament. However, speakers, including Greens party Sen. Lidia Thorpe, called for a treaty with Indigenous peoples instead.[5]
    • The referendum, a pledge the Labor Party took during the general election last May before winning the majority, would alter the constitution — a feat that has only been achieved eight times since 1901. It would require a majority of votes in a majority of states.[4]


    Left narrative

    The Aboriginal people have voiced their opposition to Australia Day for decades, but the majority has ignored them. Today, however, a new generation of Australians is joining forces with Indigenous communities in the fight to expose the country's history of racism and genocide and abolish the holiday that celebrates such a horrific past. This is no longer a controversial demand, and the government should take note of that.

    Right narrative

    While no one would deny the past discrimination faced by Aboriginal peoples, Australia Day is not a celebration of historic brutality. Before it even became a federation in 1901, the Irish, English, Welsh, and Scottish settlers worked alongside the Indigenous peoples to build the remarkable modern state we see today. Australia Day is a celebration of Australia and the entirety of its people. The small faction who oppose it seems to have forgotten that.

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