Tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people attended Invasion Day rallies across Australia, calling for a change to the date or removing the day altogether.
In Sydney, protesters met in Hyde Park for speeches delivered by Indigenous leaders, youth and members of the Greens Party. They said there was “nothing to celebrate” about Australia Day.
Deaths in custody, the removal of Indigenous children from their families and high suicide rates were issues highlighted by speakers, along with discussions surrounding the treatment of the Indigenous peoples of South America and Palestinians.
Githabul Elder Yillah said he was marching because the government was “conspiring behind closed doors to do harm to [Indigenous people] as a race.”
“We’re a persecuted race of people and people aren’t even seeing that,” he said.
“No changes have happened under any government. This is a process of insanity that we have to go through where we expect different outcomes but get the same rubbish.
“I honestly think that this process needs to be over and done with and that the tribal people around this country need to start looking at going into the International Crime Court.”
Protesters shouted “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land,” and held signs like “Respect existence or expect resistance, “No pride in genocide” and “It’s time to pay the rent”.
From Hyde Park, the march headed to the Yabun Festival in Victoria Park, the largest one-day gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia.
By Andrea Cantle