Thousands of protestors gathered on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne on Tuesday to protest the celebration of January 26 as Australia’s national day.
Speakers at the event included Victorian State Senator Lidia Thorpe, who called for a national peace treaty with Aboriginal people to address inequality and related struggles faced by First Nations people.
“They still lock our people up, they still kill our people, they still desecrate our land, our water,” she said.
“A treaty means peace, a treaty means equality, a treaty means justice.”
Bill Nicholson, a Wurundjeri nation elder, also spoke at the event and called for better education and respect for Australia’s history.
“This country has still blinded its history and a lot of the social issues we have today, it is from that disrespect and, I believe, deliberate ignorance to the history of this land,” he said.
Event organisers enforced a COVID-safe plan separating protestors into groups of 100 and distributing masks and hand sanitiser.
Similar protests took place in other Australian cities, including Sydney, where a planned march was cancelled after negotiations between police and event organisers.
The protest in Melbourne followed a memorial dawn service in King’s Domain, the third annual Invasion Day dawn service to be held since 2019.
Article & Photo: Ryan Sambell