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Invasion Day protests put Australia Day celebrations in shade

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Invasion Day protests put Australia Day celebrations in shade

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Organisers of Australia's Invasion Day commemorations, the critical response to Australia Day, are claiming victory after their numbers outstripped those of the official celebrations of the nation's birth.

Tens of thousands of people critical of Australia's colonial history took to the Melbourne streets.

"I want a day we all can celebrate and this is to create awareness that we all can celebrate as Australians and January 26, we just can't do it, due to the historical facts of this day," said one man.

"We unite the nation by acknowledging the past not ignoring it. This is not a black armband view of history, this is our history and we must come to terms with it if we are to heal, if we're to reconcile and move on together as a united nation," said Green Party leader Richard Di Natale.

Australia Day, January 26, celebrates the arrival of British settlers in Sydney Cove, New South Wales 230 years ago. For indigenous Australians, the date means the start of oppression, including dozens of massacres throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.