Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Archives July 2020

Solidarity with BLM protesters in Sydney

30 July 2020

The Refugee Action Collective in Melbourne expresses its solidarity with the seven fined Black Lives Matter protesters in Sydney who were fined $1000 each on 28 July for demanding justice for David Dungay Jr.  

It is outrageous that Prime Minister Scott Morrison can join crowds at the NRL, where 10,000 are allowed, but a socially distanced protest of hundreds is shut down. It is also worth noting that an anti-CCP protest of close to 100 at the Chinese consulate in Sydney was allowed to take place the day before. 

The vitriol directed against the Black Lives Matter protests from politicians, police and media has been an attack on anti-racism and the right to protest, not about concern for public health. 

Police in NSW and Federal Coalition Minister Greg Hunt have tried to blame the Black Lives Matter protest for Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19. But this is ridiculous. Not only is there no evidence for any transmission from the BLM protests in Australia, but it is widely acknowledged across the political spectrum in Victoria that the second wave came from COVID-19 leaking from the quarantine hotels for returned Australian travellers. 

RAC has similarly come under attack for safe forms of protest, with 30 refugee supporters fined a total of $50,000 and one person charged with incitement for a car convoy protest drawing attention to the threat of COVID-19 for refugees held in detention.  

The racism that has seen no one held accountable for the killing of David Dungay Jr is the same racism that sees refugees locked up in dangerous conditions, unable to socially distance or protect themselves against COVID-19. 

RAC-Vic supports the right to protest during the pandemic. We call for the dropping of all fines against the Black Lives Matter protesters in Sydney. 

Solidarity with the Brisbane/Meanjin protests

1 July 2020

The Refugee Action Collective (Vic) has been inspired by the resistance shown by the refugees held in the hotel at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane and the solidarity rallies by their supporters in the streets outside.

We join the Refugee Action Collective (Qld) and Refugee Solidarity Meanjin in calling for the men to be released into the community where they will be welcomed by so many people.

We are appalled by the mass arrests of refugee supporters who were doing no more than peacefully calling attention to this incarceration, this breach of human rights.

Here in Melbourne, we continue the same fight. There are some 65 refugees in the Mantra Bell City Hotel in Preston, like Kangaroo Point an “alternative place of detention”, and more in MITA, in Broadmeadows. They, too, have been protesting daily.

Those in the Mantra do not have access to fresh air and all of them are trapped in close proximity to Serco guards who could all too easily bring the COVID-19 virus in from outside, with cases spiking in the city’s north. Broadmeadows is one of many suburbs going into lockdown as a COVID-19 hotspot.

We, too, have faced police action for safely drawing attention to this situation, with one RAC member charged with incitement and 30 facing $1652 fines for taking part in a socially distanced convoy of solidarity.

So we send our solidarity to you all in Meanin/Brisbane from Naarm/Melbourne. And the best solidarity is for all of us to keep up the fight for freedom for refugees and asylum-seekers against this racist Morrison/Dutton government.