Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Northam convergence for refugee rights

Around 160 refugee rights activists traveled to the Yongah Hill detention centre near Northam on Sunday 26 August. Three buses, two mini-vans and several private cars joined the convoy from Perth alongside a small number of locals who came to support refugee rights and an end to mandatory detention.

The protest also was the first major expression in Perth of opposition to the reintroduction of offshore "dumping" of refugees at Manus Island and Nauru.

Speakers included Greens senator Scott Ludlam, Serco Watch convenor Colin Penter and academic Caroline Fleay. A particularly moving speech was given by former detainee called Jacob.

After hearing speakers, protesters proceeded up a nearby hill to be able to establish visual contact with refugees inside. A giant "Free the Refugees" banner was unfurled and balloons with freedom messages were released. A radio broadcast was also set up so that refugees inside could hear from the protesters directly.

Media reports came from The West Australian, The Australian and ABC online and several TV stations.