World Refugee Day – 20 June

(The following photos and text were posted originally as an addition to Takver’s report on Melbourne Indymedia, which unfortunately is not accessible at present.)

The rally and march attracted up to about 200 people, and there was a good number waiting already at the Fitzroy Town Hall. Not bad, given the wintry weather – which wasn’t in the event as bad as the forecast – though ten times the number would have been welcome.

Pamela Curr referred to the case of a detainee at Baxter who has just attempted suicide: here is a summary from an email –

The punishment blocks at Baxter have claimed another victim. Tonight “B” lies unconscious in the Intensive Care Ward of Royal Adelaide Hospital, on artificial ventilation. This man who has been in detention for nearly 5 years, has over the past few days rung his friends to thank them for their support. On Friday night he climbed on the roof of the RED ONE BLOCK before being locked into his cell for the night. The guards gave him a chair to sit on but refused him a blanket. He took 60 tablets. It is not known when he took the tablets. They left him there until 7.30am this morning. The guards refused requests from friends who wished to encourage him to come down.

Another man “M” is in an ISOLATION CELL in the notorious Management Unit (M/U), refusing to eat and taking no phone calls from friends. The suicide prevention program in M/U is to keep persons in their cells for 23 ½ hours out of 24 under lights. The person is shackled hand and foot, has a head guard strapped on and wears a short white hospital top. The room contains a mattress on the floor and the air conditioning is very cold.

Today “B” was taken to Port Augusta Hospital and then to Royal Adelaide. Friends report that he said he could not endure being locked up any longer. This is his third attempt to die.

“B” was removed from his compound to the Management Unit and then to RED ONE where he has undergone the Punishment program designed to teach him “respect in the Australian way”. This followed a mild, verbal disagreement with a nurse about his medication. She reported him for “lacking respect” and so he was removed to RED ONE.

Aladdin Sisalem at microphone

Aladdin Sisalem recently released from Manus Island, addressed the rally

Heart-shaped mini-placards in lawns at Museum

A display of the ‘Sea of Hearts’

Sara, whose mother was killed in the Bali bombing

Sara, whose mother was killed in the Bali bombing

Banner leading march - Free the Refugees

The march about to set off

Placards from TruthOverboard

Another reminder of government mendacity

(The website mentioned on the placards in the above picture is no longer active, but see for example this article in the Sydney Morning Herald)

Placard - We are humans too

On the march

Banner of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity

Solidarity from the gay and lesbian communities

View of march in Brunswick Street

Heading down Brunswick Street

Dogs with Free the Refugee stickers on their jackets

Dogs helping to spread the message

Woman walking inside wire netting 'cage'

Another walking reminder

The march ended at Fitzroy Town Hall, where a multicultural fiesta was in progress:
Outside Fitzroy Town Hall