Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

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

Solidarity with refugees and migrants devastated by fire at Moria refugee camp in Greece

14 September 2020

Refugee Action Collective in Victoria (RAC Vic) expresses its solidarity with refugees and migrants who have been devastated and displaced after fires ripped through Europe’s largest refugee camp at Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos last week.

Refugees at the camp were left to run in panic after a fire broke out. It is unknown how the fire started. The camp has since been burned down leaving 13,000 men, women and children without shelter, with many left to sleep on the road.

On Friday 11 September, news reports stated that migrants and refugees protested in front of police barriers holding signs calling for “freedom” and “no camp”, with Greek police responding by firing tear gas at protestors.

Before the fires began, 13,000 refugees at the camp had already faced months of extreme overcrowding, unhealthy conditions such as lack access to medical care, water, sanitation and pandemic information. The camp has been impacted by COVID-19, with several refugees testing positive for the virus.

Refugee Action Coalition Sydney showed their support at the Greek Consulate with members of the Greek community in Sydney on Saturday 12 September. From the RAC Sydney Facebook page, they issued their support saying: “ Solidarity with the Moria refugees. Today progressive members of the Greek community joined with members of RAC outside the Greek Consulate in Sydney. There will be pro-refugee protests across Europe, including in Athens, later today.”

We echo these statements and those of protestors in Greece and in other parts of Europe who are mobilising in solidarity with refugees and migrants. 3000 protesters in Germany are calling on their own government and countries across the EU to accept all refugees from the Moria refugee camp. Refugee rights supporters are demanding refugees and migrants be immediately transported to the Greek mainland, to be able to safely access asylum and housing.

We stand in support and call for refugees all around the world, including in Australia and at the Moria camp, to be welcomed to safety and permanent protection in the community.

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.