News Australia Day protesters clash with police in Sydney
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Australia Day protesters clash with police in Sydney

Sydney protest rally
Sydney protest rally turns violent as crowds march through Redfern Source: Twitter
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A police officer has been injured and a man arrested after clashes between police and protesters at an Invasion Day march through inner city Sydney.

Marking the growing debate around the date of Australia Day, thousands of people marched through the heart of Sydney’s Aboriginal community, Redfern, on to the city and up to Victoria Park, where the Yabun festival is being held.

Police said just before 1:00pm a protester allegedly set fire to a flag within the crowd.

Officers used an extinguisher to put out the fire as thick white smoke rose above the crowd and a brief struggle ensued which injured a policeman.

A woman participating in the march also sustained minor injuries. She was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital as a precaution.

The police officer has also been taken to hospital for assessment.

A 20-year-old man was arrested and is currently at the Redfern Police Station where he is being questioned.

Police said it was an “isolated incident in an otherwise peaceful demonstration” and overall they were pleased with the behaviour of the crowd. There have been no other reports of injuries.

The march resumed with protesters chanting in opposition to police power and continued safely to Victoria Park.

The violence lasted a few minutes and the march continued safely to Victoria Park.

Protesters labelled the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 as a “day of killing” rather than the birth of a nation.

The crowd, many draped in Aboriginal flags, gathered in Redfern where they heard speeches denouncing the celebration of Australia Day, which many indigenous people call “Invasion Day”.

“It is a national disgrace to have a holiday on Australia Day – a day which marked the beginning of genocide”, organiser Dave Bell reportedly told the Sydney crowd.

Meanwhile, peaceful protest rallies were held in Melbourne and Brisbane.

– ABC, AAP

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