Australians burn Union flag on day of mourning for late Queen

Australians burn Union flag on day of mourning for late Queen
Rebecca Hutson

By Rebecca Hutson

Published: 22/09/2022

- 14:46

Updated: 22/09/2022

- 14:48

Anti-monarchy activists protested the persecution of indigenous people since the British landed over 200 years ago

'Abolish the Monarchy' activists have burned a Union flag as Australia held a public holiday to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Demonstrators gathered in cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, protesting the persecution of Indigenous people since the British landed in Australia more than two centuries ago.

In Sydney, groups of people gathered near a statue of Queen Victoria in the city centre before marching through the streets.

'I think the monarchy needs to be aware that there's unfinished business happening here in Australia,' said Gwenda Stanley, a 49-year-old activist of the Indigenous Gomeroi people.

'The monarch is nothing to mourn about, it is something if anything for our people to rejoice,' she said, calling for the return of Indigenous lands and restitution for "war crimes".

'The monarchy needs to be abolished, it should have been many years ago', said 24-year-old Indigenous activist Paul Silva.

'First Nations people within Australia are still fighting for their traditional lands' he added.

At a national memorial service for the Queen in Canberra, Australia's Governor-General David Hurley, who represents the monarchy, said he recognised the concerns of the island continent's first inhabitants.

"Considering the unifying role her majesty played, I acknowledge that her passing has prompted different reactions for some in our community," Mr Hurley said.

"I'm conscious and respect that the response of many First Nations Australians is shaped by our colonial history and broader reconciliation journey. That is a journey we as a nation must complete."

Pictures have also emerged of protesters burning the Australian flag to decry colonial Britain's destructive impact on Indigenous peoples.

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