Conflicts & War

Thousands protest in defense of indigenous people on Australia Day

Sydney, Australia, Jan 26 (EFE).- Thousands took to the streets Thursday across Australia in defense of the indigenous population during the national day, which marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first British ships in the country.

“I don’t understand how anyone in this country can think that it makes sense to go out and organize a barbecue to celebrate a genocide,” said Dunghutti Paul Silva, activist for the rights of the aboriginal population, according to state channel ABC.

Silva’s was one of the harshest criticisms of the many launched Thursday concerning Australia Day by thousands of citizens who took to the streets of Australian cities, such as Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, in peaceful marches defending the indigenous population.

Some of the attendees, who waved Aboriginal flags, directly called for the abolition of Australia Day, which “should never be celebrated,” as said by Senator Lidia Thorpe of the Australian Green Party.

Australia Day commemorates the arrival of the first fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, Sydney, when the flag of the United Kingdom was raised in Australia, on Jan. 26, 1788.

From Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wanted to honor the country’s indigenous population Thursday, speaking of the “unique privilege we have in sharing this land with the world’s oldest culture.”

Many of the attendees did not consider enough, according to ABC, the government’s plan to hold a referendum this year to include aborigines, historically discriminated against in the oceanic country, in the constitution and in the institutions.

The “Voice in Parliament” proposal, an election pledge by Albanese before he took office in May, aims to give indigenous Australians a greater say in national decision-making.

The aborigines, who represent 3.2 percent of the population of more than 25 million in Australia, have been victims of constant mistreatment since colonization, in addition to being dispossessed of their lands and systematically discriminated against by institutions, organizations and society generally.

Indigenous Australians are not currently mentioned in the country’s constitution, adopted in 1901. EFE


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