Thousands of Australians protested against the “Day of the invasion”

News 26 January, 2018
  • AFP


    Friday, 26 January, 2018 02:40

    Friday, 26 January, 2018 02:40

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    MELBOURNE | tens of thousands of protesters marched across Australia on Friday against the national holiday commemorating the arrival of the first british settlers in 1788, the feast day that they consider as an insult to the indigenous population.

    For many Australians, the “Australia Day” celebrated on the 26th of January represents the beginning of the oppression of aboriginal people. They also demand that this day of the national holiday to be redesigned.

    “Australia is a diverse society today and we need to include everyone, then it is necessary to change the date”, said to AFP, Rachel Muir, who was taking part in what the protesters describe as a “Day of the invasion” in Melbourne.

    More than 10,000 people marched in this city in the south-east of Australia. “It has always been, it always will be, a land aboriginal”, chanted the protesters. “You are on stolen lands”, proclaimed the banners.

    Thousands of other protesters gathered in the main cities of the vast country-continent.

    “Australia must take into account its indigenous peoples”, said to AFP Greg Hunt, a protester. “Celebrate Australia Day, the day when the Europeans invaded Australia is an affront, it is very disrespectful to the people we took the land”.

    The idea that it is necessary to change the date of the national day makes its way from a few years in the country. In 2017, the three municipalities of the State of Victoria have voted to no longer recognize the one on January 26.

    The Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is resolutely hostile to any change, which according to him would be a factor of division.

    “We recognize that the history of european settlement in Australia was a complex and tragic for indigenous australians”, he said in a recent speech. “But before all, during the Australia Day, we recognise our successes as Australians”.

    The aborigines, who were a million when the settlers arrived, do not represent more than 3 % of the 24 million Australians. So they are now less numerous than at the beginning of the colonization.

    Aborigines remain by far the poorest population of the country with particularly high levels of poverty and incarceration are higher. They are in poorer health than the general population.

    A recent survey has shown, however, that many Australians are rather indifferent to the national day, most not knowing what is the date of 26 January.