PG Blog

Invasion Day rallies

6 Feb 18

By Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, CAPA NATSIPA Liaison Officer

Thousands of people gathered across Australia on January 26th, 2018, to mark Invasion Day and to show support for changing the date.

Protests were held across the nation with Sydney and Melbourne attracting some of the largest crowds. Several CAPA office bearers joined in the protest in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

2018 marks 230 years since the British invaded Australia, leading to the decimation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also the 80-year anniversary of the Day of Mourning protests, organised by the Australian Aboriginal Progressive League.

In Sydney, tens of thousands marched from Redfern to Victoria Park where the Yabun Festival was underway. The march was organised by respected Elder, Uncle Ken Canning from Fighting in Resistance Equally (FIRE). “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land” and “{no pride in genocide” were chanted by the crowd, while the streets were transformed into a see of Black, Yellow and Red Aboriginal flags.

In Melbourne, an estimated 60,000 people attended the Invasion Day rally, which commenced with Uncle Bill Nicholson giving a welcome to Wurundjeri country. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their non-Aboriginal supporters marched through the CBD, stretching from Parliament House down to Swanston Street, along to Flinders Street and back up to the Treasury Gardens.

In Brisbane, 5000 people marched through the streets, up significantly on previous years. The crowd gathered outside state parliament, where the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were flown at half-mast after police passed on a request from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders to parliamentary staff.

In Canberra, nearly 1,000 people attended the rally, marching along the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge over Lake Burley Griffin to the Tent Embassy at Old Parliament House, culminating in a smoking ceremony. Protesters who marched have described Australia Day as a “day of mourning”.

In Perth, hundreds of people marched against Australia Day through Perth’s CBD chanting “change the date” as they headed from Forrest Chase to shade tents in front of the Supreme Court Gardens, where the Birak concert began at 3pm.

Other protests were held in Adelaide, Hobart, and other cities around the country.