‘They’re Still Killing Us’: Powerful Footage From Invasion Day Protests Across Unceded Land

Protesters hold placards as they make their way towards Victoria Park during an Invasion Day protest. One protester is holding a sign which reads: Only wankers celebrate genocide

Thousands of people across the country have rallied in solidarity with First Nations folk on Invasion Day — a day which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise as one of mourning, survival, protest and resistance.

January 26 marks the beginning of a violent, brutal colonisation, when Captain James Cook declared “terra nullius” to justify the dispossession, suffering and inhumane treatment of First Nations people.

We gather, protest, rally and march to call for action on Indigenous deaths in custody, changing the date and including First Nations people in the Australian constitution.

Here is a snapshot of the Invasion Day and Survival Day protests, rallies and marches which took place on stolen land on Thursday.

Meanjin / Brisbane

According to the National Indigenous Times, about 20,000 people gathered on Meanjin land for the Invasion Day rally.

The march began at Queens Garden and ended at Musgrave Park, with chants including, “No justice — no peace, no racist police,” and, “How do you spell racist? Q-P-S,” echoing through the streets.

Naarm / Melbourne

Greens Senator and DjabWurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe delivered a powerful speech at the Naarm Invasion Day rally, where she declared war against the violent oppression inflicted by colonising forces.

“A war that was declared on our people more than 200 years ago,” she said, per news.com.au.

“That war has never ended in our country against our people. They are still killing us. They are still stealing our babies. They are killing our men. They are still raping our women.”

She blasted the referendum vote for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and stressed the urgency to establish a treaty first.

“Do we want to become advisors now? We deserve better than that,” she said, per the Guardian.

“We see what white people have done to this country in the short time they have been here. They have destroyed our water, they have destroyed our land, they have destroyed our families.

“They have destroyed our sacred sites. They have taken our children and said, ‘Sorry, I won’t do it again.’

“They want to put the colonial constitution over the top of the oldest constitution in the planet.

“Our constitution comes from the soil and the blood of our people. We need peace. We deserve better than any advisory body.

“We want real power, and we won’t settle for anything less.”

It’s believed that between 8,000 and 10,000 people attended the Invasion Day rally.

Photo credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images.

Photo credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images.

Photo credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images.

Police officers stand on top of Parliment House steps as protestors participate in the Treaty Before Voice Invasion Day Protest in Melbourne. Protesters hold photos of First Nations people who have died in police custody.
Photo credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images.

Warrang / Sydney

Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti activist Lizzie Jarrett told thousands of protesters gathered on Gadigal land that Australia Day was “dead”.

“We protect each other. This is Sovereignty Day; Australia Day is dead. We have been fighting this for 238 years,” she said, per the Guardian.

“Just like Queen Lizzie, Australia Day is dead with her.”

Paul Silva, the nephew of late Dunghutti man David Dungay Jr who died at the Long Bay prison hospital in 2015 after being restrained by several guards, also spoke.

“We will not celebrate rape, theft and murder on January 26,” he said.

“How can this day be celebrated when it’s about plain, cold genocide? So for everyone out there celebrating today, my question would be: would you celebrate a day when your ancestors or family members were raped and killed?

“We see this system constantly killing us. We demand independent investigations into these deaths. We demand justice and accountability.”


People participate in an Invasion Day protest in Sydney, Australia. A sign reading "We deserve more than a voice" is held by protesters and a woman raises her fist in support.
Photo credit: Steven Saphore/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

nipaluna / Hobart

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaign manager Nala Mansell lead the march down nipaluna’s Elizabeth Street towards Parliament House.

An estimated 5000 people were in attendance, per the NIT.

Palawa man Rodney Gibbons told the crowd that seeing the number of people who support changing the date “sharpens the voice” of First Nations people.

“For most Australians, [January 26] is just another day off,” he said, per NITV.

“To call the date unchangeable is simply not true.”

Boorloo / Perth

The Invasion Day rally in Boorloo began with an extraordinary speech by Yamatji-Noongar woman and Stolen Generations survivor Rhonda Collard-Spratt.

“They tried to make us disappear, but guess what? We’re still here standing strong,” she said at Forrest Chase in the city centre, per The Age.

“We haven’t been here for 40,000 years, we’ve been here since the beginning of time.”

Ngunnawal Country / Canberra

Hundreds of protesters marched to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Ngunnawal Country, demanding the date be changed.

At the Aboriginal Tent Embassy — which is one of the longest continuing protest sites in the world, having occupied the lawns of Old Parliament House for 51 years — they listened to speeches from elders and activists.

Larrakia Country / Darwin

Hundreds gathered at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre on Larrakia Country, which houses children as young as 10.

Larrakia elder Eric Fejo stood before the crowd and yelled towards the Detention Centre, to let them know he — and the community — supported them.

“I thank everyone here today. We can’t do it without you. We need all the help that we can get,” he said, per NT News.

“There’s a long way to go this year, but if we can be unified we can do anything.

“We need to show these kids over there that, hey, you’re not by yourself, we’re here supporting you.”

Tarndanya / Adelaide 

Thousands descended on Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square and marched to Parliament House chanting, “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land”.