Activists gathered at the Captain Cook statue in London to protest the celebration of “Australia Day” and in solidarity with mass rallies and dawn services held in Australian cities on January 26.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, one of the longest running protest sites in the world. It also marks 252 years since first contact between Captain Cook and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the beginning of colonisation and dispossession of their land. The event was organised to show solidarity with the First Nations people who consider “Australia Day” to be a day of mourning not celebration.
Activists displayed a signs such as “No Pride in Britain's Indigenous Genocide” and “50 Years of Resisting and Still Fighting”, a reference to the theme of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy commemoration events that will honour and mourn the past, celebrate survival and strategise for the next 50 years.
Sam Taylor, a London-based Australian attending the protest, said: “Australians in London stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The celebration of the genocide of Indigenous Australians is shameful and offensive.
“Colonisation continues to this day, from the murder of Aboriginal people in custody to the destruction of native lands to feed capitalist greed. We live in the heart of the Empire here in London, so it is important to bring to light the real history of this day and to show people in Britain and Australia that today is not and will never be a day to celebrate.”
Coral, a proud Aboriginal woman from Geraldton, Western Australia, said: “The majority will celebrate arrival but we will celebrate survival of the original peoples of this great Southern land. Always was Aboriginal land, always will be. Proud to be an Aborigine. We are the traditional owners of this red earth, our mother.”
A London bus stop was also “hacked” by activist artist Protest Stencil, to display the Aboriginal flag with the words “Abolish Australia Day”.