Protests at Parliament House

refugee protestRefugee advocates have returned to Parliament House for a second day of protests against the government’s treatment of people seeking asylum.

Members of the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) scaled the front wall of Parliament House, unfurling a banner which read ‘Close the bloody camps now’. They also poured red dye into the pool in front of the building.

Some protestors stood in the water carrying signs which labelled the Liberal Party as “world leaders in cruelty” and criticised Labor for providing “no opposition to cruelty”.

Zianna Fuad, a WACA spokesperson, told Crosslight more than 50 protestors from around the country joined in the planned action.

“We’re here to tell the government and the opposition that they are all complicit in the abuse of refugees in offshore detention and that these camps need to be closed immediately,” she said.

“We will continue to be protesting and running campaigns until the camps are shut down.”

On Wednesday, WACA members created national headlines when they glued themselves to the House of Representatives public gallery during Question Time.

WACA has also been involved in campaigns targeting Wilson Security and other subcontractors on Manus Island and Nauru where the detention centres are located.

Wilson Security has since announced it will no longer operate on Australia’s offshore detention centres after its contract finishes in October 2017.

Ms Fuad said the Australian public’s attitude towards refugees has changed in recent months.

“I think the narrative really changed after the Nauru Files were released and we have evidence of the abuse happening there,” she said.

“There are lots of incredible refugee support and advocacy groups around Australia and in churches and different networks that have direct communications with people on the island. They are running their own campaigns and offering alternatives to the detention model, which is obviously failing us.”

Last month, the Turnbull government announced a one-off deal with the US to resettle refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. Details of the deal remain scarce and there are reports only 400 refugees will be resettled in the US.

“We know that not everyone will be taken and those left on Nauru will be given a 20-year sentence there. Every extra day on Nauru is an extra day in hell,” Ms Fuad said.

“The continued violation of human rights means that members and everyone else complicit in the detention industry should expect growing, widespread protests and civil disobedience until the camps are permanently closed.”

Image courtesy of Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance.


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