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As loads of people celebrated Australia Day yesterday (January 26), there were tens of thousands who took to the streets in protest.
Authorities say as many as 50,000 people across the country partook in Invasion Day rallies to mark the day the First Fleet arrived into Australia.
Brisbane is reported to have hosted the largest rally, with more than 8,000 gathering at Queens park to call for a change in the date of Australia Day and increase awareness for Aboriginal issues.
One protestor even managed to place an Aboriginal flag into the hand of a Queen Victoria statue, a symbolic moment for the colonial-era monarch.
In Melbourne, thousands marched from Parliament House down Bourke Street in a peaceful demonstration.
There was a huge rally planned in Sydney's CBD that was organised, then cancelled by police and then allowed to proceed at the last minute.
Police warned people they would be fined if they took part in the demonstration as thousands of people were planning to attend.
Authorities said the maximum limit for public protests was 500, and as a result, people sat in groups of exactly that in Sydney's Hyde Park.
There were more than 100 Covid-19 marshals on hand to organise groups and hand out face masks and hand sanitiser.
Organiser of the protest, Paul Silva told the Guardian: "We negotiated with police to have a sit-down ceremony and gathering at the Domain.
"And I would say upon dispersing, a small group of people decided to cause conflict between police, and due to that, they were not arrested, but detained and fined."
Police Minister David Elliott told Channel 9 he was pleased the protest ended successfully.
"We were happy, when you consider in previous years we've had up to 15,000 people turn up to these rallies in Sydney alone," Mr Elliott said.
"The 3000 crowd dispersed into groups of 500 by negotiation with the police. In return, they didn't march, which was a great outcome. They complied with the request from police in that regard."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing added: "We reached some agreement with protest organisers, taking into account the heat that is obvious today, the potential disruption to the city and traffic and, indeed, the safety of all persons who are wanting to express their views as part of this protest to have protest attendees break into groups engage in social distancing as best they possibly could with assistance of police."
There was a rally through the streets planned in Sydney, but that was called off.
Gomeroi woman Gwenda Stanley said they were 'threatened by police intimidation saying they will smash us', according to NITV.
"Instead of allowing them to incite a riot, we've advised everyone to disperse and stay safe," she said.
Featured Image Credit: 9News
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