‘Not a day to celebrate’: Thousands attend Invasion Day protests

Thousands of protesters are expected to attend Invasion Day and Survival Day rallies around the nation, with major events held in every capital city.

Demonstrators in Melbourne descended on state parliament from 10am (AEDT) on Friday in what organisers described as one of the longest-standing protests in the world.

“Australia Day is not a day to celebrate,” Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance said in a statement on social media.

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“It is an annual reminder of invasion, occupation, genocide and the ongoing impacts of colonisation that continues to destroy our lives, our lands and our waters.”

Sydney’s major demonstration began at Belmore Park at 10am (AEDT) before heading to Victoria Park.

Organisers are calling for an end to deaths in custody and to stop housing and healthcare discrimination.

They also want government to implement all recommendations of the 1978 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and they have a range of other concerns.

Invasion Day rallies kicked off around the country on Friday morning. Credit: Brent Lewin/AAP
People attending an Invasion Day rally in Brisbane. Credit: Jono Searle/AAP

“January 26th has become the one day of the year that completely divides the nation,” Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaign manager Nala Mansell said.

“These protests will keep getting bigger every year, until the prime minister is willing to show some leadership by abolishing the Australia Day celebrations, or at least changing the date.”

Hobart’s rally began at Elizabeth Street at 11.15am.

Brisbane’s started at Queens Gardens at 9am (AEST) while in Darwin demonstrators arrived at Civic Park from 8.30am (CST).

Adelaide’s event started at 11am (CDT) in Victoria Square and the Perth march will start at Forrest Chase from 12.30pm (WST).

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