Protests against Australia Day draw thousands to the streets

"It is the day British boats launched a war of genocide against Indigenous Australians, which continues today".

Large gatherings formed in Sydney and Melbourne - with the red, yellow and black Aboriginal flag prominent - to mark a day that has become increasingly divisive in recent years, with many now referring to it as "Invasion Day". More than 1000 marched outside state parliament in Brisbane.

"I hope we will look back on this as one of the many small steps we took as a country towards reconciliation and towards really healing and understanding ourselves and our past", he said.

"We can either continue to celebrate our national identity on a day that literally excludes and offends the majority of Indigenous peoples of this country; or we can evolve as a society and recognise that a true national holiday is one that honours all Australians - especially the First Australians".

Protesters in Newtown set a flag on fire in the middle of a public thoroughfare
Protesters in Newtown set a flag on fire in the middle of a public thoroughfare

The police also confirmed that one man was arrested and taken to a local police station for questioning. "A woman who was participating in the march also sustained minor injuries", a spokeswoman for the New South Wales Police told the news website.

Police said it was an "isolated incident in an otherwise peaceful demonstration" and overall they were pleased with the behaviour of the crowd.

About morning tea time, a citizenship ceremony in the Overseas Passenger Terminal was to welcome the newest Aussies from more than 20 countries.

For many Aussies, January 26 is a glorious day off work where you can indulge in a sausage sizzle and few cold ones in the sunshine.

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"I just get sick of these people who every time, every time there's something on, they just want to make you feel guilty", he said.

Why do I not see them upset by the injustices committed by Aboriginal people against other Aboriginal people today?

Australia Day is being held annually on January 26, but a recent poll has indicated that most Indigenous Australians feel that it should be held on a different date. "We see that as a bad date and we'd like to see another day selected", he said.

Just after 8am both Australian and Aboriginal flags were raised in unison on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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About 200 people have joined the "Invasion Day" protest in the heart of Perth to rally for changing the date of Australia Day on Thursday.

While at least half of the crown was non-indigenous, the front of the marching column consisted of mostly indigenous protesters.They carried placards, didgeridoos, makeshift spears and clapping sticks, walking through a strong police presence.

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