Sydney march against Australia / invasion day

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Date:

Irish anarchist living in Sydney reports from recent march against ‘Australia Day’- On the 26 January tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Australia to protest against ‘Australia Day’ representing 227 years of resistance against the British crown colonial invasion, dispossession and genocide.

In Sydney, thousands also marched representing the biggest Invasion day march since the 1988 bicentennial. The march organized by FIRE Fighting in Resistance Equally represented an amalgamation of groups across the political spectrum. Irish migrants living the in Sydney took part in the march including people from the James Connolly Society.

Protestors gathered in Redfern that historically has represented the symbol of Aboriginal resistance in Sydney. Speaker after speaker denounced the continuing the oppression of Aboriginal people and their struggle for self-determination and freedom. There was also an emphasis on the importance of building solidarity between all struggles on an intersectional basis.

During the colourful and a vibrant march made its way through the streets of the Sydney CBD, there was an attempt to burn the Australian flag or the butchers apron as us Irish like to refer to it as a symbol act of defiance. Before this occurred the riot police viciously intervened using fire extinguisher and pepper spray attacking the young and old.

As the march organisers highlighted,
“As the demonstration was nearing a conclusion, it was viciously attacked by police. This was a premeditated attack designed to try and divide, intimidate and demonize rally participants. Many police were not wearing their badge numbers to avoid identification. They charged into the crowd without warning and began assaulting people and spraying fire extinguishers into people’s faces.
Police told media they launched the attack after some people in the rally “burned the Australian flag”. Many flags have been burned at invasion day rallies over many years without similar police assaults. Indeed, at the invasion day protest last year a flag was burned in almost identical circumstances without incident. This year, a similar attempt by some of those marching was attacked before it began. Footage clearly shows the flame was not even lit.

The disgraceful attack led to multiple assaults by police and fire extinguishers were used to spray gas into faces. We are sorry that people attending the rally, particularly our elders and children, were exposed to this. Protection of elders and children is core to our beliefs. These police actions were both unlawful and unpredictable. The police can not claim to have been trying to protect public safety - they brutally injured the public.”

One Irish girl was left injured from police violence and is now recovering in hospital. For many Australia may represent the ‘land of opportunity’ but for its original inhabitants, they continue to be subjected to a colonial regime that is built on racism and dispossession. What is clear is that from the streets of Belfast to Dublin and Sydney, the police main priority is to uphold the status quo and our resistance has no borders.

WORDS: Sean M