World

Protests over Australia Day date falling on 'Invasion Day'

SYDNEY: Thousands of Australians staged marches yesterday demanding the date of Australia Day, Jan 26, be changed as it celebrates the arrival of white settlement and the beginning of injustices suffered by the country's disadvantaged Aborigines.

Tens of thousands of people - many wearing the black, yellow and red colours of the aboriginal flag - gathered in Melbourne, The Age reported, while thousands more protested in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

For many Aborigines, who traced their lineage on the island back 50,000 years, Jan 26 is "Invasion Day", the anniversary of the beginning of British colonisation of their land and their brutal subjugation.

"I'm here to commemorate all the aboriginal people who were murdered during the first stage of settlement," protester Neville Scarlett told The Age.

While the rallies were mostly peaceful, a 20-year-old man was arrested in Sydney and a police officer and protester were injured.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he did not support changing the date. - REUTERS

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