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January 26 will be ‘Division Day’ as thousands of cities are flooded for the day of mourning

Thousands of Australians gather in solidarity with First Nations people and march under the scorching sun in an attempt to get the government to change the date for Australia Day.

Protesters take to the streets on Thursday with marches being staged in every state and territory as many choose not to celebrate the national holiday and protest January 26 as Australia’s national holiday.

Crowds gathered on Gadigal land in Belmore Park in Sydney’s CBD early in the morning ahead of the 9:30 am march.

The theme of Thursday’s demonstration is “sovereignty over voice” in response to the federal government’s proposal in the form of a vote to parliament.

The meeting opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing and a recognition of the land by Uncle Dave Bell.

Crowds gathered on Gadigal land in Belmore Park in Sydney’s CBD early this morning ahead of the Invasion Day march (pictured)

There was also a large police presence on the park grounds.

Speakers called for indigenous sovereignty and criticized the referendum for an indigenous vote in parliament.

Activist and Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung woman, Aunt Lizzie Jarrett told those present to vote no.

“Liberal, Labour, the system is not for black people,” she said as the crowd cheered.

We don’t want a voice, we have a voice. We don’t want whitewash.

‘When it comes to time. Vote ‘no’ to the referendum. Don’t come here and check a box.”

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi is present at the march and posted footage of the smoking ceremony on Twitter.

“Today I join First Nations people in marking January 26 as Invasion Day, as I have done for many years. It is a day of mourning,” Ms. Faruqi wrote.

“We call for justice for the first nations and we call for a treaty in this land.”

The theme of this year's rally is "sovereignty for voice" in response to the proposal of the federal government in the form of a vote to parliament

The theme of this year's rally is "sovereignty for voice" in response to the proposal of the federal government in the form of a vote to parliament

The theme of this year’s rally is ‘sovereignty over vote’ in response to the federal government’s proposal to give the vote to parliament

The meeting opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing (pictured) and a recognition of the land by Uncle Dave Bell

The meeting opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing (pictured) and a recognition of the land by Uncle Dave Bell

The meeting opened with a smoking ceremony, followed by traditional dancing (pictured) and a recognition of the land by Uncle Dave Bell

Hundreds of people brace themselves for temperatures of 27°C in clothing with the Aboriginal flag.

Signs read ‘we deserve better than just a vote’ and ‘vote no to referendum’.

Counter-demonstrators in support of Australia Day lined up opposite the rally with the Australian flag and signs.

A woman was pictured holding an ‘I support Australia Day’ sign before police arrived and evacuated the group.

The sails of the Sydney Opera House were lit up with Indigenous artwork by the proud Kamilaroi woman and artist, Rhonda Sampson, to celebrate First Nations women around the waters of Sydney Harbour.

Before the protest, hundreds gathered in Barangaroo for the WugulOra morning ceremony to honor First Nations people and reflect on what the day means to them.

An ancient smoking ceremony was held to ‘pave the way for new beginnings’ and to celebrate the world’s oldest living culture through dance, music and language.

Counter-demonstrators in support of Australia Day lined up across the street from the Invasion Day rally holding the Australian flag and signs (pictured)

Counter-demonstrators in support of Australia Day lined up across the street from the Invasion Day rally holding the Australian flag and signs (pictured)

Counter-demonstrators in support of Australia Day lined up across the street from the Invasion Day rally holding the Australian flag and signs (pictured)

The police quickly moved the counter-demonstrators (pictured)

The police quickly moved the counter-demonstrators (pictured)

The police quickly moved the counter-demonstrators (pictured)

Attendees witnessed special performances by Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander dancers and singers, such as the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe.

A march also began in Canberra at Garema Place, with hundreds of people gathering in the sun at 9:30 am.

There is a sign in the park that reads ‘Self-determination, no confinement’.

Meanwhile, activists gathered in Fogarty Park in Cairns from 9am.

Protests are scheduled in every state and territory, with Brisbane starting at 10am from Queens Gardens, Hobart from 10.45am, Darwin from 10.30am, Adelaide from 12pm, Perth from 12pm and Melbourne at 11am from Victoria Parliament House.

Non-Indigenous Australians have been celebrating what is known as ‘Australia Day’ for 29 years.

The day is a historic day that has deep, cultural significance to Indigenous Australians and is an opportunity to advocate for the deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in custody.

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