Thousands of protesters rallied in Australia on Tuesday, January 26th to demonstrate against the country’s national holiday, Invasion Day. The holiday, which marks the anniversary of the British colonization of the country, has been met with increasing criticism from Indigenous Australians and their supporters who view it as a celebration of the country’s violent past.
The protests, which took place in cities across the country, called for the holiday to be replaced with one that celebrates Indigenous culture and recognizes the suffering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Demonstrators also called for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, an issue that has been the focus of Australia Day celebrations in recent years.
Photos and videos from the demonstrations showed protesters holding signs and banners with messages such as “Change the Date” and “Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land”.
In an opinion piece in The Guardian, an Indigenous Australian writer explained why she could not participate in the protests, saying that they sought to “sabotage an Indigenous voice to parliament”.
The protests come as Australia is facing increasing international pressure over its treatment of Indigenous Australians, including the recent closure of remote Aboriginal communities.
For more coverage of the protests and the ongoing debate surrounding Australia Day, view the full coverage on USNN.