Awani Review

Complete News World

Australia: Statues of colonial history attacked ahead of National Day

Australia: Statues of colonial history attacked ahead of National Day

Statues of James Cook and Queen Victoria celebrating Australia's British colonial past were vandalized in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of a national holiday that has divided the country for years.

In this South Australian town, a statue of a British explorer was pulled down, slashed in the jaws, and covered with the words “Colony Fall” at its base.

Another statue depicting Queen Victoria, who ruled the British Empire, is painted red.

Victorian Premier Jacinda Allen responded, “This type of vandalism has no place in our society.

The national holiday, “Australia Day”, is celebrated on January 26 every year. It's a public holiday, and for most Australians, often the occasion for a barbecue or a trip to the beach.

But the date, which commemorates the arrival of European settlers in Sydney Harbor in 1788, has become increasingly controversial, leading to heated debate. Some renamed it “Invasion Day”.

While activists want colonial figures to be celebrated, others decry the commemoration of anti-indigenous abuses and cultural genocide.

Most Australians are more picky and prefer to have a public holiday or even a name, but polls show the date is more divided.

“If we wanted a public holiday, we'd change the name, but we'd move Australia Day to a different date,” Melbourne resident Michelle Slater, 50, told AFP.

Champion cricketer Pat Cummins, one of the country's most popular sportsmen, felt he could find a more inclusive date this week.

“I love Australia. It's the best country in the world,” he said. “We should have a national holiday, but we can find a more appropriate day to celebrate it.”

See also  Cycling. Why Benoit Gasnefroi won't compete at the World Championships in Australia

In October, Australians voted down Aboriginal rights reform, which proposed recognizing these minorities in the constitution as the island-continent's first inhabitants and giving them a specific “voice” through an advisory body.

Aboriginal people make up less than 4% of Australia's 26 million people.