Thousands crashed Melbourne’s Australia Day parade to protest the celebration of invasion and genocide, writes PEKERI RUSKA (Goenpul/Yuggera).
very year I question why anyone in this country would want to celebrate the 26th of January as ‘Australia Day’. This day in 1788 marked the beginning of an all-out assault on Aboriginal lands, lives and liberties. The overwhelming majority of settler society blindly celebrates Australia’s colonial beginnings. Unfortunately, some of our own people also partake in Australia Day festivities, inevitably giving legitimacy to a nation built upon 227 years (and counting) of dispossession and genocide. We must learn the brutal history of colonization and understand the truth of exactly what ‘Australia Day’ is. In a nutshell, Australia Day is an annual splurge of shallow government-endorsed patriotism designed to suppress the undeniable fact that Australia is a nation with a sinister and deceitful history. It’s an unashamed continuation of the White Australia policy. ‘Invasion Day’ is a far more appropriate name for what should be a time of mourning, but also a time for action, Aboriginal action. 1 ISSUE 2
Invasion Day in Melbourne this year was different. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before at any protest. Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) was determined for it to be the event that would kick off a year of actions against the colonial system. It was exactly that, and more. We put out the call for people to gather at the steps of Victoria’s State Parliament House on the morning of January 26. Social media was abuzz with excitement, and flyers were plastered on lampposts and noticeboards throughout the streets of Melbourne. With thousands having clicked ‘attending’ on our official Facebook event, Parliament House’s security team contacted WAR with a list of ‘conditions’ for the protest. One of these conditions was that “all activity shall be confined to the first six steps of Parliament House and should not encroach above the lower six steps”. We didn’t abide by these ‘conditions’, and there was no retaliation from security or police. Over 2000 people turned up to the rally. The colours red, black and
yellow spilled out onto the main road in a sea of flags, banners and raised fists. As the chants grew louder and the people poured in, we knew Melbourne’s Aboriginal community was going to make its mark on Invasion Day 2015. PLANNING & PREPARATION For our demonstration in Melbourne on the 13th of March against the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, we rallied again outside Parliament House. This time there were police on horseback blocking us from moving up past than the sixth step – they came in force, and they came prepared. In 2013, Brisbane’s Invasion Day march pushed through police lines into the South Bank Australia Day celebrations. In 2014, the police were better prepared and managed to prevent the same from happening; a two metre high fence and a line of police blocked 400 Aboriginal people from entering South Bank. This year, WAR led a group of 15 into South Bank via another entrance and flanked the unsuspecting police. But the march was once again prevented from entering South Bank, and WAR’s attempt at a tactical approach highlighted the need for serious preparation and planning for any such demonstration.
Black Nations Nations Rising Rising P6 PBlack
Published on Jun 19, 2015
The second edition of Black Nations Rising (BNR) magazine, a new national Aboriginal publication dedicated to informing our people about dec...