New Delhi: On the national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, numerous citizens, mostly from the indigenous community, took to the streets in major cities around Australia for the “abolish monarchy” protest. The Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) and Fighting In Solidarity Towards Treaties organised the gathering to protest “past atrocities and the ongoing impact of British colonisation in Australia.” Protests are being held on a national holiday in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.
“This is a position against the ongoing crimes against marginalised First Nations, black, brown, and Asian populations. We do not favour benefactors or the ‘Stolenwealth’ (a combination of stole and commonwealth) rather instead want justice, truth, and accountability for everyone. Justice for everyone,” WAR posted on Facebook.
“This is an anti-racist colonial imperialism demonstration.”
Protesters called for the restoration of land “to the true sovereign owners,” an end to indigenous deaths in detention, and truth, accountability, and justice.
“While they grieve the Queen, we mourn what her tyranny stole from us: our children, our land, the lives of our loved ones, sacred locations, and our heritage,” stated WAR.
According to AFP, thousands gathered under a statue of Queen Victoria in Sydney before marching through the streets.
“I think the monarchy needs to be aware that there’s unfinished business here in Australia,” Gwenda Stanley, a 49-year-old Gomeroi activist, was quoted as saying.
“The monarch is nothing to be sad about; if anything, it is something for our people to celebrate over,” she continued.
Meanwhile, the monarchy’s representative in Australia, Governor-General David Hurley, has stated that he understands the concerns of the island continent’s initial residents.
“Given her majesty’s uniting role, I understand that her demise has elicited differing sentiments for people in our community,” Hurley said in Canberra.
“I’m aware of, and appreciate, the fact that many First Nations Australians’ reactions are affected by our colonial history and the larger reconciliation path. That is a path that we as a country must complete.”
Previously, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised a referendum within the first three years of his term to allow indigenous peoples the opportunity to be consulted by parliamentarians on issues affecting them.