Calls for Australia Day to be abolished as protesters stage 'Invasion Day' marches

Thousands of people taken part in "Invasion Day" rallies across Australia, with a speaker in Melbourne saying the country "does not deserve a day of national celebration".

Protesters have gathered in the country's major capital cities, to march in support of indigenous rights and to call for the date of Australia Day to be changed.

On Friday, a crowd gathered outside Parliament House in Melbourne for the march through the city centre, where the crowd was told the country was “not mature enough” to celebrate Australia Day on any date.

“This country does not deserve a day of national celebration in any capacity,” an activist told the crowd, news.com.au reported.

Thousands of people were seen gathering as part of the
Thousands of people were seen gathering as part of the

One organiser at the Australia Day protest in Melbourne shouted to the crowd "f... Australia" and "I hope it burns to the ground".

Tarneen Onus-Williams, who was introducing speakers during the rally at the steps of parliament on Friday, also told the crowd she wanted Australia Day abolished instead of the date being changed, AAP reported.

Thousands turned out for the protest, many bearing banners reading 'Survival Day' and 'Day of Mourning'.

Authorities say they'll be on high alert with the "Invasion Day" protesters and a far-right group due to gather at St Kilda.

The day's activities come after three Melbourne councils - Darebin, Moreland and Yarra - dumped Australia Day out of respect to indigenous people.

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Following the move, the federal government revoked Darebin and Yarra's ability to host citizenship ceremonies at any time of the year.

In Sydney, thousands of people gathered in Redfern to march the streets in support of indigenous rights.

Organiser Ken Canning from Fighting In Resistance Equally said he hoped the Invasion Day rally would draw attention to indigenous deaths in custody and was grateful for the support of non-Aboriginal Australians.

Authorities were on high alert as the crowd marched through the city. Photo: 7 News
Authorities were on high alert as the crowd marched through the city. Photo: 7 News
Thousands turned out for the protest, many bearing banners reading 'Survival Day' and 'Day of Mourning'. Photo: Getty
Thousands turned out for the protest, many bearing banners reading 'Survival Day' and 'Day of Mourning'. Photo: Getty

"The idea here is to engage the general public because our political spectrum around the country, except for maybe the Greens party ... ignore the calls of Aboriginal people," he said ahead of the march.

Several hundred people also gathered on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide, calling for the date to be changed.

Aboriginal elder Tauto Sansbury told the crowd that recognising the hurt caused by celebrating on the day the first fleet arrived must be the start of a wider conversation.

"People have said there's other issues to deal with, well no there's not," he said.

"This is the first one that breaks down the barriers. Then we can move onto all of the other things that are not right for Aboriginal people."

Police seen patrolling the rallies. Photo: Getty
Police seen patrolling the rallies. Photo: Getty

Mr Sansbury said he believed change was inevitable.

"January 26 means nothing to us except that we've got to break it down and get rid of it," he told reporters.

"It's the wrong date and the wrong time to celebrate.

"Just like the Berlin Wall went down, I believe we'll knock this down too."

The day's activities come after three Melbourne councils - Darebin, Moreland and Yarra - dumped Australia Day. Photo: Getty
The day's activities come after three Melbourne councils - Darebin, Moreland and Yarra - dumped Australia Day. Photo: Getty
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