Start News Muffled mood at National Day in Australia

Muffled mood at National Day in Australia

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With parties, parades and protests, Australia today celebrated its not uncontroversial national holiday. Despite the fire that had been raging for months and despite criticism from the indigenous people, people across Australia celebrated Australia Day – the day that commemorates the arrival of the first fleet of settlers from England in the 18th century.

For the Aborigines, January 26th is a painful day and the beginning of oppression. It will always be a “dark” date, said Yvonne Weldon, a respected Aboriginal representative, at a traditional Sydney kick-off ceremony. Tens of thousands gathered in Sydney and Melbourne at protests for the „Day of Invasion“, to which Aboriginal representatives had invited.

Some fireworks were canceled

On the other hand, the day at Sydney Harbor was celebrated with historic sailing ships and classical music. In many cities there were street parties, parades or concerts. For many of the approximately 25 million Australians, the day is a big summer party. Because of the devastating bush fires, in which more than 33 people have been killed, the mood is calmer than usual.

Melbourne and Canberra, for example, had canceled traditional weekend fireworks. „Unfortunately, everything is currently overshadowed by the catastrophic effects of the bushfires on the country, particularly on the east coast,“ said Margaret Beazley, governor of the particularly affected state of New South Wales, in her speech on Australia Day.