Nude woman arrested at protest
A nude woman was arrested by police yesterday after she stripped off during an Invasion Day rally in the Sydney CBD.
The protest, part of national action held in capital cities around the country, was organised by indigenous groups urging for the date of Australia Day to be changed. Indigenous leaders and protesters believe January 26 should be considered a day of national mourning.
Temperatures soared to more than 30 degrees in Sydney as the rally kicked off with between 50,000 and 65,000 protesters estimated to be in attendance.
A woman at the protest shocked onlookers by stripping off all her clothes and standing in the packed crowd wearing nothing but her socks.
As she was confronted by a group of police officers, the nude woman looked distressed, arguing with police and at one point putting a scarf over her head.
The woman was later escorted into a police van at Victoria Park on Broadway.
"A 38-year-old woman was arrested following a protest march at Victoria Park Broadway about 2pm yesterday," a spokeswoman for NSW Police told news.com.au today.
"She was taken to Mascot Police Station where she was charged with wilful and obscene exposure, failing to obey police directions and resisting arrest."
The woman was granted conditional bail. She will appear in Downing Centre Local Court on February 17.
The Sydney Invasion Day protest began at Hyde Park, with organisers hoping for a crowd bigger than last year's event, which drew tens of thousands.
Fighting In Resistance Equally rally co-ordinator Raul Bassi said in 2019 the message was largely about changing the date, but this year's focus was more about the environment and climate change in light of the bushfire crisis.
"The only solution is to give the land back to the Aboriginal people who have a love and connection to the land," Mr Bassi told AAP.
Sydney's Inner West Council made the call in November to cancel its Australia Day celebratory events as a show of respect for Aboriginal people - many of whom view January 26 as "Invasion Day".
Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne said it was a small but important step towards acknowledging indigenous Australian culture.
"For Aboriginal people, the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and deliberate destruction of language and culture," Mr Byrne said in a statement.