Protest eclipses Australia Day in Victoria | Ralph-Lauren

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Thousands are poised to gather on the steps of Victorian parliament for an “Invasion Day” rally, with protesters urged to stay COVID-safe.

Victoria’s outdoor gathering limit of 100 people has meant the cancellation of the traditional Australia Day parade in Melbourne.

But a number of events will go ahead on Tuesday, headlined by a central Melbourne march that is expected to draw thousands of “Invasion Day” demonstrators.

Event organisers, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, are demanding the abolition of Australia Day.

“There is nothing to celebrate on Australia Day,” it said on Monday

“Aboriginal communities continue to be oppressed, policed, discriminated against and disenfranchised.”

More than 3500 people have signalled their attendance on social media for the event, which will begin in front of Parliament House from 10.30am.

Attendees have been told to organise in groups of 100 and stay 10 metres apart, wear masks and bring hand sanitiser.

A Victorian NAIDOC-led Day of Mourning Dawn Service will also be held earlier in the day.

Victorian minister Melissa Horne said she understood January 26 was a difficult day for First Nations people and implored protesters to safely demonstrate.

Later, anti-lockdown protesters have pledged to march after repeatedly shunning health advice last year.

The group plans to meet at Queen Victoria Gardens and march from Park Pavilion to Catani Gardens near St Kilda Beach.

The “People’s Australia Day Parade” will conclude with a “beach party” to “celebrate what’s great”, its organisers said on Facebook.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told AAP it was aware of several planned demonstrations in the CBD and issued a stern warning to would-be troublemakers.

Premier Daniel Andrews, meanwhile, is scheduled to attend the annual flag-raising ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday morning.

He will be joined by Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau, who will later host a citizenship ceremony at Government House for 50 conferees from nations including Iraq, Fiji, Hungary, Vietnam, Pakistan and Colombia.


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