CONTROVERSIAL protest group Reclaim Australia will rally in Fremantle on Australia Day to protest the decision to move the annual fireworks to the weekend.
The City of Fremantle announced in December that it would forgo its usual Australia Day celebrations to hold the more culturally inclusive event One Day in Fremantle two days later.
Mayor Brad Pettitt said at the time that the decision was made in recognition of the fact that for many Aboriginal Australians, the day was “a day of sadness and dispossession.”
Since then, the Reclaim Australia group has announced its disapproval of the decision, urging others who feel the same to join them in a rally on Thursday.
“Unfortunately the [City of Fremantle’s] move was counter-productive and caused divisions in the community which defeated the original intent of their decision,” they said in a Facebook post.
“We know that indigenous people continue to suffer and we also realise that political grandstanding does nothing to address the problems – we call upon the Federal Government to reallocate some of the vast swathes of overseas aid to alleviate and support indigenous communities and services.
“Those living today cannot change historical facts and it would be wrong and totalitarian to do so – Fremantle itself is named after a colonial sea captain, where do we draw the line?
“We cannot pretend that the arrival of the First Fleet did not lay the foundations for a future democratic and free society that is the envy of many other nations.
“Just as we respect NAIDOC week we can also respect this auspicious day for all Australians; mutual respect will move us forward not backward.”
Others across the country have thrown their support behind the City, with a rally supporting Fremantle’s decision scheduled in Carlton, Victoria on Saturday.
Fremantle BID and the Fishing Boat Harbour Traders Association have ensured Australia Day celebrations will continue in Fremantle on Thursday, funding their own event and fireworks display.