Hundreds attend Invasion Day protest to ‘march in pride’
In bare feet and steel capped boots, flip-flops and runners, they strode the footpaths of Lismore, calling for justice for Indigenous people at an Invasion Day rally.
Carrying placards, wearing shirts and waving flags, they made a colourful crowd of all ages and cultures; one little girl wore her fairy dress, two boys their sports jumpers and dozens of youngsters wore T-shirts advocating freedom, equality and fairness, as did their parents and friends.
Around midday, Widjabul Wia-balbul woman Cindy Roberts, who was in Western Australia at the time, spoke to the crowd of more than 200 people who gathered outside the Lismore Environment Centre near the corner of Molesworth and Magellan Streets.
Ms Roberts spoke about making things right and bringing people together.
"We are connected to the land," she said.
"Stand with our people when you stand with us you stand with our ancestors.
"Walk with us and be with us, one in spirit today, stand with us, grow with us and march in pride."
Her speech was met with loud cheers, clapping and the waving of flags.
Then fresh from performing a smoking ceremony at the Lismore Town Hall Australia's Day ceremony, indigenous artist Gilbert Laurie again lit the bowls and carried it to the start of the march.
"Be brave," Mr Laurie told the crowd.
And they surged forward, crossing Molesworth St and walking down Magellan St in droves.
The signs varied from "Black Lives Matter", to "Don't Hate, Change the Date" and "No Pride in Genocide."
They pushed prams, walked dogs, held their children's hands, walked arm-in-arm, sang and chanted as they made their way around the Lismore CBD.
It is estimated at least 200 people participated in the peaceful protest.