Hundreds of people marching for Aboriginal rights have disrupted official Australia Day celebrations in the Melbourne CBD.
The group – holding Aboriginal flags and chanting “always was, always will be Aboriginal land” – followed the parade down Swanston Street, flanked by police.
The rally that followed was lead by two organisations: Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation.
Organiser Meriki Onus, 27, said the group had earlier gathered at the steps of parliament house to lay flowers in commemoration of Aboriginal people who were killed during white settlement, the Stolen Generation and Aboriginal deaths in custody.
She said January 26 was a day of mourning for Aboriginal people.
“We don’t celebrate Australia Day, because Australia Day celebrates genocide,” Ms Onus said.
“Today is Invasion Day for Aboriginal people.”
As the vocal group marched from Parliament to town hall and on to Birrarung Marr, people chanted “No pride in genocide” and “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.”
Placards carried in the procession included “End the NT intervention” and “Stop deaths in custody”.
The rally came to a brief halt at the intersection of St Kilda Road and Flinders Street as members of the crowd burned gum leaves.
Ms Onus said the turnout for the rally was far greater than she had expected.
Djuran Bunjileenee, from First Nations Liberation, said it was important for the wider community to remember the events of January 26.
“Australia Day is the day our land was physically occupied by invaders,” Mr Bunjileenee said.
Australia Day January 26 = Invasion Day, Day of Mourning and Protest
For Indigenous Australians, for whom the date represented invasion and an irrevocable impact upon their culture, land and population, there was no cause for celebration. During the sesquicentenary events in 1938, approximately 100 Aboriginal protesters gathered in Sydney to present a different view of the celebrations. For the protesters and those represented, Australia Day was instead ‘a day of mourning’, highlighting the loss of life, land and language that was a cause of the European occupation of Australia.
“How many times have we organized & marched in these streets, for those who met their untimely end at the hands of police officers…who purposefully aim their pistols, firing away with all their might endowed by this bourgeois society.
The same officers who lie under oath, destroyed evidence, threatened witnesses, and other deceptive acts to uphold a system that has killed countless people of color and continues to oppress my people.
No matter how much they beat us, or how many of our people they kill, we, our struggle won’t die, it will only strengthen. Our solidarity only grows stronger with each baton swung, every bullet fired, and every leave of absence given to those who commit murder.
The evidence of our ever-growing struggle can be seen in the streets here tonight, in the streets of Chicago, and with our comrades in Minneapolis. We demand the release of the tapes, we demand justice for Jamar Clark and we demand National Liberation.
The only thing that can end our National Oppression is BLACK POWER!”
Mural, Falls Road, Belfast, 1983 – “Solidarity between women in armed struggle”; women militants of (from left to right) Palestine Liberation Organisation, Cumann an mBan and Southwest African People’s Organisation (Namibia), contained within women’s symbol.
March 1954 - Four Puerto Rican freedom fighters opened fire at US congressmen, from the visitors gallery at the US Capitol, as part of their campaign to free Puerto Rico from US colonialism and make it a sovereign nation once more.
The nationalists, identified as Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irving Flores Rodríguez, unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and began shooting at the 240 Representatives of the 83rd Congress, who were debating an immigration bill. Five Representatives were wounded, one seriously, but all recovered. The assailants were arrested, tried and convicted in federal court, and given long sentences, effectively life imprisonment. In 1978 and 1979, they were pardoned by President Jimmy Carter; all four returned to Puerto Rico. [video]/[video]
The absence of Western imperialism does not bring peace, and national liberation does not lead to self-determination, an impossibility in the capitalist world. This is due to the very nature of the nation-state, which is imperialist by nature.