UPDATE 8.30PM: City of Ballarat Mayor Ben Taylor believes protesters were well within their right to take part in a demonstration against the council during its Australia Day Award Ceremony. "People have the right to protest," he said. He said he was mostly concerned the community members who attended the awards had not had their enjoyment spoilt. "Hopefully it didn't take away from the event and wasn't too awkward or confronting for them," he said. These sentiments were echoed by deputy mayor Belinda Coates, who acknowledged the protests made the event awkward. "It was disruptive. But in talking .. afterwards, a lot of people were supportive of them." Cr Coates said the demonstration was a result of the group not feeling heard. "It was certainly a peaceful protest but loud. People do have the right to protest and have their voice heard and often that happens when people don't feel heard in a community on an issue." Gunditjmara woman Sissy Austin, who organised the protest, agreed with Cr Coates, telling The Courier discussions she has had with Cr Taylor about having the fireworks rescheduled were not positive. "I've met with the mayor to discuss the issue and felt as though our voices were not being heard," she said. "Our conversations were not positive which has only fuelled our fire in pushing the issue that the fireworks should be rescheduled. "We had gone through all the quiet measures and gotten nowhere, so we decided it was time to not be out of sight, out of mind." EARLIER: What is traditionally a quiet event became very loud on Friday evening as anti-Australia Day protesters caused major interruptions during the City of Ballarat's Australia Day Awards. Protesters stationed themselves outside Civic Hall prior to the 5pm start of the event. Using a megaphone and speakers, the group - consisting of about 20 members, including young children - shouted 'Shame on the City of Ballarat' for its plans to go ahead with Australia Day fireworks on Sunday evening at Lake Wendouree. READ MORE: It's bang out of order: councillor opposes Ballarat's Australia Day fireworks READ MORE: Ballarat's first Survival Day dawn ceremony on Sunday morning The protest, organised by Gunditjmara woman Sissy Austin who is a member of the Koorie Engagement Action Group, remained outside Civic Hall for much of the event, causing occasional disruptions to the proceedings when the doors to the building opened. It was after all the awards had been handed out when the real disruption occurred, as a pair of protesters began shouting and booing while the Australian National Anthem was being played. Following this, the rest of the group entered the hall with their megaphone, noise sticks and a didgeridoo player, chanting and following Ballarat Mayor Ben Taylor. "Shame on the City of Ballarat, shame on Ben Taylor," they shouted, as many members of the public began to leave the event. WATCH VIDEO BELOW (IT MIGHT TAKE A MOMENT TO LOAD) Multiple members of the group yelled at award-winners and council members for posing for photos in front of the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flags. Others said they "respected and championed the work of the white volunteer award winners." The protests stemmed from the City of Ballarat's decision not to cancel its Australia Day fireworks, despite numerous other councils such as the City of Melbourne and the City of Geelong cancelling its displays. It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.