SYDNEY :Australia has observed Australia Day the official National Day on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
Several thousand Indigenous Australians and their supporters marched through the streets of Sydney to protest at what they have renamed ‘Invasion Day’. They the celebration as offensive and, in response, rallies were held in major cities across the country.
Aboriginal poet and Bidjara elder Ken Canning said the gathered crowd that. “Today is a day for protest. It is not a day for singing and dancing.”
They carried thesigns reading: ‘National Day of Mourning’, ‘Invasion Day is not a Holiday’, and ‘No Pride in Genocide’, protesters made their way through Sydney’s central business district chanting and blocking traffic.
Caine Carrol a public servant who has joined by his children at the protest. “A lot of blood has been spilled on this land, and it still hasn’t been recognised, even to this day. It’s important for them to know that their people died fighting for this land, and we are still fighting today for our rights.”
Jack Gibson, of the Wiradjuri nation said. “Australia Day is a date linked to whiteness, colonialism and perpetuating the myth that Aboriginal people don’t belong in this country, so it is important that we always resist that.”
The main concerns raised by the activist are poverty, land-rights abuses and the disproportional imprisonment rate among Aboriginals .
Celeste Liddle of the Arrernte nation, who is a trade unionist and a writer, said the continued celebrations on the day showed ignorance and a country yet to honestly come to terms with its history.
She said.”The day celebrates the stealing of land and the beginning of the decimation of the longest-continuing culture and peoples of the world,” she added that. “Most people who live here have little knowledge of settlement, massacres, indigenous cultures and the like – and most continue to see all this as being of little worth.”