Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne
Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne

Refugee says police are stopping him from seeing his family

 

PROTESTERS have vowed to keep going into the night after a refugee in the Kangaroo Point motel told them police were preventing him from seeing his wife and son.

The man, who spoke from the building, said his son and wife were in the crowd, whom he had not seen for three months.

Some stood on top of fences, while other chanted "let him hug his son."

The protest, set to leave Main Rd at 4pm, will carry into the night until the man is allowed to hug his son through the fence.

Police negotiations are underway, the protest remains peaceful.

One sign read: "We came on the same boat but some are free and we are in prison."

"Refugees are without crime, seven years in detention," another read.

Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne
Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne

The protesters are demanding refugees be released into the community by Christmas.

About 200 protesters have gathered outside a hotel where the government has housed some refugees in Australia for medical reasons.

Protest organiser Ruby Thorburn said they were seeking three resolutions today.

"The first demand is the immediate stop of transfers, we're demanding the men that have been removed be brought back."

"The reason why they're transferring them is because these protests caused so much noise, we need to continue to maintain that and keep up the pressure."

The protesters have also called for free movement, as the men have are not allowed outside the building.

Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne
Protesters gather outside a refugee hotel in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: Shiloh Payne

"Our final demand is that all people in that centre are out by Christmas."

"That gives the government six months to make sure that those men are out in the community by Christmas."

Sam Woripa Watson, who also organised the event, said the protest needed to go on despite social distancing rules.

"It's absolutely essential that we come out now because these people are in a dire situation."

"They're in a closed confined space where they can't social distance, the guards coming in and out are not isolated and they could bring it to the centre's and it spreads like wildfire."

Ms Thorburn said this was especially dangerous for the men in the building.

"All of the men here are here on medevac, that means they all have pre existing medical conditions, and they're in an extremely vulnerable position, more vulnerable than any of us here," she said.

"If one person gets Covid in that detention centre, it will be lethal for all of them."

One man, who spoke from within the building, said he had seen first hand people die in processing centres.

"Every single man here has a sad, dark story to tell, a young man buried himself alive in front of our eyes."

Large signs have been hung from the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments where protesters have begun to gather in solidarity with refugees in the building.

One sign read: "We came on the same boat but some are free and we are in prison."

"Refugees are without crime, seven years in detention," another read.

Tents and campsites remain on the corner of Walmsley St and Main St after protesters spent the night outside the building, with fears the refugees would be taken to a different location in the lead up to the demonstration.

A section of Main Street will be closed from 2pm where protesters will gather on the road.

Today's protest follows a rally on Friday that turned ugly, with activists accused of fighting, screaming and jumping on parked cars.

A man and a woman were arrested after they allegedly damaged cars during the protest.

Originally published as Refugee protests kick-off in Brisbane again



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