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australia day invasion day debate

australia day invasion day debate

Melbourne’s Invasion Day rally begins on the steps of Parliament House on Spring Street, 500 metres from where the city council has blocked off the route of the official Australia Day parade.

The events start at the same time, and until a few years ago only one was accommodated. Before 2015, the Invasion Day rally was seen as just a group of hardcore activists; they didn’t register in the minds of the flag-waving crowd that turned out to watch the official proceedings.

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That was then. On Friday, when the Invasion Day march reached the barricades that had been pushed aside after the parade moved on, it significantly outnumbered the Australia Day event.

Crowd estimates were between 40,000 and 60,000 people. It stretched the length of four city blocks, picking up stragglers and people who were on the street only because they had watched the official parade.

Spectators for one event stayed to watch the next, filming a rally themed on the abolition of Australia Day while still holding plastic flags that had been waved joyfully minutes before, as if observing the second act of an annual national performance: the pageant, then the protest.

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