PEACEFUL PROTEST: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
PEACEFUL PROTEST: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

Hundreds attend Invasion Day protest to ‘march in pride’

In bare feet and steel capped boots, flip-flops and runners, they strode the footpaths of Lismore, calling for justice for Indigenous people at an Invasion Day rally.

 

AUSTRALIA DAY PROTEST: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
AUSTRALIA DAY PROTEST: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

Carrying placards, wearing shirts and waving flags, they made a colourful crowd of all ages and cultures; one little girl wore her fairy dress, two boys their sports jumpers and dozens of youngsters wore T-shirts advocating freedom, equality and fairness, as did their parents and friends.

 

A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

Around midday, Widjabul Wia-balbul woman Cindy Roberts, who was in Western Australia at the time, spoke to the crowd of more than 200 people who gathered outside the Lismore Environment Centre near the corner of Molesworth and Magellan Streets.

Ms Roberts spoke about making things right and bringing people together.

 

A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

"We are connected to the land," she said.

"Stand with our people when you stand with us you stand with our ancestors.

"Walk with us and be with us, one in spirit today, stand with us, grow with us and march in pride."

 

FLAGS AND PLACARDS: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
FLAGS AND PLACARDS: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

Her speech was met with loud cheers, clapping and the waving of flags.

Then fresh from performing a smoking ceremony at the Lismore Town Hall Australia's Day ceremony, indigenous artist Gilbert Laurie again lit the bowls and carried it to the start of the march.

 

A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

"Be brave," Mr Laurie told the crowd.

And they surged forward, crossing Molesworth St and walking down Magellan St in droves.

 

Lismore artist Gilbert Laurie (centre) was a key part of a rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
Lismore artist Gilbert Laurie (centre) was a key part of a rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

The signs varied from "Black Lives Matter", to "Don't Hate, Change the Date" and "No Pride in Genocide."

They pushed prams, walked dogs, held their children's hands, walked arm-in-arm, sang and chanted as they made their way around the Lismore CBD.

 

STANDING TOGETHER: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
STANDING TOGETHER: A rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson

It is estimated at least 200 people participated in the peaceful protest.

YOUNG AND OLD: All ages were represented at a rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson
YOUNG AND OLD: All ages were represented at a rally in support of indigenous rights and concerns about how Australia Day is represented and celebrated was held in Lismore on January 26, 2021. Photo: Alison Paterson


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