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Masses Gather on State Parliament Steps for ‘Invasion Day’ Demonstrations

Pro-Palestinian protestors also participated in the protests.

Thousands of protesters have gathered at Victoria’s Parliament to demand a change to Australia Day as part of a series of “Invasion Day” rallies taking place across the nation.

Jan. 26 marks the day when the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove in 1788.

Advocates of Australia Day argue that Jan. 26 commemorates the founding of Australia’s democracy and rule of law, while opponents view it as Britain’s invasion of the Aboriginal people, known as “Invasion Day.”

“Invasion Day is a day when Aboriginal people reaffirm their commitment to the ongoing struggle for justice,” Aboriginal Australian activist Gary Foley stated in Melbourne, as reported by The Herald Sun.

“This year is a particular historic gathering, in that, because of what’s going on in another part of the world, we have invited our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” he said.

Just a day earlier, anti-Australia Day protestors sawed off a statue of Captain Cook by the ankles and defaced a statue of Queen Victoria.

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On the morning of Jan. 26, protesters walked through the streets of Melbourne’s CBD carrying Aboriginal flags and wearing shirts in support of the protest. Some rallygoers displayed Palestinian flags and colors in solidarity with Indigenous Australians.

A heavy police presence was visible along Spring Street as protesters made their way to Victoria’s parliamentary steps.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in Sydney gathered at Belmore Park before heading to Victoria Park.

In Hobart, a rally was held at Elizabeth Street, with numbers exceeding those who attended in 2023, according to Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaign manager Nala Mansell.

“January 26th has become the one day of the year that completely divides the nation,” Ms. 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.”

Other rallies were held at Brisbane’s Queens Gardens and Adelaide’s Victoria Square.

Former Victorian Premier Calls on PM to Declare Stance on Australia Day

On Jan. 24, former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to state his position on the Australia Day debate, emphasizing that the highly politicized issue will be ongoing for decades if the government’s stance is not made.

It also comes after the PM refused to support calls by NSW Premier Chris Minns for Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia to reconsider their decision not to acknowledge Jan. 26 as Australia Day.

Mr. Albanese instead called on the nation to stop looking for reasons to be “outraged.”

“If the prime minister doesn’t believe in Australia Day, he ought to stand down,” Mr. Kennett told Sky News on Jan. 24.

“If the prime minister does not support the country he leads openly and with vigor, if he wants to change the date, do it, but do it now so we don’t have to go through this every year.”

On Jan. 25, the prime minister’s office encouraged all government departments to fly the Australian national flag.

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