Thousands of Australians are gathering to change the date of Australia Day across the country – with what was once a unremarkable day on the calendar now a Day of Division.
Protesters took to the streets on Thursday with marches being organized across states and territories as many choose not to mark the National Day and protest the holiday marking the date the First Fleet sailed into Sydney Cove has landed.
Crowds gathered early in the morning in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – all three rallies were themed “Sovereignty before Voice” – in response to the federal government’s proposal on Voice to Parliament.
The Sydney rally opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing and a recognition of the country by Uncle Dave Bell.
Crowds gathered early in the morning on Gadigal Land in Belmore Park in Sydney’s CBD ahead of the Invasion Day march (pictured)
A strong police presence was also seen in the park area.
Speakers called for indigenous sovereignty and criticized the referendum for an indigenous vote in Parliament.
Activist and Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr, the Bundjalung woman, Aunt Lizzie Jarrett urged attendees to vote no.
“Liberal, Labour, the system is not for black people,” she said, as the crowd cheered in response.
“We don’t want a voice, we have a voice. We don’t want white laundry.
“When it comes to time. Vote “No” to the referendum. Don’t come here and tick a box.’
Green MP Mehreen Faruqi is attending the march and has posted pictures of the smoking ceremony on Twitter.
“Today I join the First Nations people in commemorating January 26 as Invasion Day, as I have done for many years. It is a day of mourning,” Ms. Faruqi wrote.
“We demand First Nations justice and we demand a treaty in this country.”
The motto of this year’s rally is “Sovereignty before votes” in response to the federal government’s proposal for parliamentary votes
The rally opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing (pictured) and a recognition of the country by Uncle Dave Bell
Braving temperatures of 27C, hundreds of people wore clothing bearing the Aboriginal flag.
Signs reading ‘We deserve more than just one vote’ and ‘Vote no to the referendum’.
Counter-protesters in support of Australia Day were seen facing the rally, holding the Australian flag and placards.
A woman was pictured holding a sign that read ‘I support Australia Day’ before police arrived and the group moved on.
The sails of the Sydney Opera House have been illuminated with Indigenous artwork by proud Kamilaroi woman and artist Rhonda Sampson to celebrate First Nations women around the waters of Sydney Harbour.
Before the protest, hundreds gathered in Barangaroo for the WugulOra morning ceremony to honor First Nations people and reflect on what the day means to them.
An ancient incense ceremony was held to “cleanse the way for new beginnings” and to celebrate the world’s oldest living culture through dance, music and language.
Counter-protesters in support of Australia Day faced the Invasion Day rally, holding the Australian flag and placards (pictured)
The police quickly moved the counter-protesters on (pictured)
Attendees enjoyed special performances by dancers and singers from Torres Strait Aboriginal people such as the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe.
A march also began in Canberra at Garema Place, with hundreds of people gathering in the sunshine at 9.30am.
There is a sign in the park that reads “Self-determination instead of imprisonment”.
Meanwhile, activists gathered in Fogarty Park in Cairns from 9am.
Protests are planned across all states and territories, with Brisbane due to start at 10am from Queens Gardens, Hobart from 10.45am, Darwin from 10.30am, Adelaide from noon, Perth from 12pm and Melbourne at 11am from Victoria Parliament House.
Non-Indigenous Australians have been celebrating Australia Day for 29 years.
The day is a historic day that holds deep cultural significance for Indigenous Australians and is an opportunity to speak out against the deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/january-26-becomes-division-day-as-thousands-flood-cities-rallying-for-day-of-mourning/ January 26 becomes the “Day of Division” as thousands flood cities to gather for the day of mourning