Protesters Occupy Immigration Department Building in Melbourne
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – More than 100 refugee advocates and protesters took over the federal immigration department building in Melbourne, Australia, chanting “Bring them here” and “We can be better than this”.
The protesters refused police instructions to leave the building in Lonsdale Street on Thursday evening, and took over the department’s second floor space, the foyer and stairwells, as well as gathering in front of the building.
Police formed a guard preventing more people from getting into the building, while protesters rallied outside the building with megaphones and banners, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
“I feel like the level of violence occurring in offshore camps is at a point where civil disobedience is the only way,” one of the protesters, Anastasia Kanjere, said.
“We want to show people the feeling is here for mass civil disobedience. Ordinary people are ready to disrupt in ways they haven’t before, and there will be more to come.”
The protesters are angered that two asylum seekers have recently been driven to self-immolation on Nauru, while an asylum seeker who was raped in Nauru was sent to Papua New Guinea for an abortion that a federal court last week found would have been safe and illegal.
Last week, the federal court found that the minister for immigration, Peter Dutton, exposed an asylum seeker who became pregnant after being raped on Nauru to serious medical and legal risks by flying her to Papua New Guinea for an abortion. Papua New Guinea did not have the medical equipment or staff with the expertise requires to cater to her serious neurological, physiological and psychological conditions. This week, Dutton said he would not appeal the ruling.