Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

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

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Car Cavalcade: Detention Is a Covid-19 Risk, Free the Refugees!

April 10, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Car Cavalcade: Detention Is a Covid-19 Risk, Free the Refugees!

Covid-19 means detention is an infection risk. The refugees must be released to safety.

please register here so we know how many are coming, and which cars to look out for and keep together in the cavalcade

cavalcade endorsed by:
Adelaide Vigil for Manus and Nauru
Amnesty South in Tasmania
Australian Services Union Private Sector Branch (Vic)
Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees
Earthworker Cooperative
People for Human Rights and Equality
Semaphore and Port Adelaide Amnesty Australia Action Group
South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees
Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support
Teachers for Refugees Vic

to endorse message us on Facebook or sms to 0403 013 183

Cavalcade protest is safe, detention centres are not – Free the refugees

No authoritarian shutdown of protest – sign the petition

RAC has rescheduled its car cavalcade until Friday April 10 (Good Friday) to give us time to build wide support for solidarity with refugees, even if that means defying the banning of safe public protest. Please join us, the more people we have coming, the less likely it is anyone be fined. Legal observers will be present on the day. Julian Burnside QC has offered us pro bono support.

We were told by Preston police that our proposed protest was illegal and we faced fines of $1652 for every person who took part, plus much heavier fines for RAC.

The hypocrisy is staggering. Our protest will be completely safe, with only two people per car (from the same household) and no one getting out of their cars. Our protest will be safer than going shopping, safer than travelling on public transport, safer than non essential work that continues, and safer by an order of magnitude than being stuck in a sealed corridor in the Mantra.

People are up to 4 in a room detained in hotels. At Kangaroo Point in Brisbane, refugees are a maximum of 65cm apart in meal queues. In the Mantra, airline staff use the hotel regularly. Serco employees do not practise social distancing and come and go. It is only a matter of time before coronavirus devastates detention centres.

Over 1200 doctors have signed a letter calling for the release of refugees from detention. The United Nations has called to release refugees from detention. ALP federal MPs Ged Kearney and Peter Khalil have called for the release of refugees in the Mantra, and income support for those in the community.

We call on premier Daniel Andrews to join these calls by

1) Publicly calling for the release of all refugees from detention, and providing safe accommodation for refugees in Victoria

2) Using public health powers to release refugees from detention in Victoria

3) Allowing safe protest in the form of car and bicycle cavalcades

*Please note this protest will be in the form of a car and bicycle cavalcade.*

The health emergency makes this protest to free refugees more important than ever. We can show them our solidarity. Here is how it will work:

Drive your car to the meeting point at Hotham St Preston and form a cavalcade.

We will travel south down Hotham st, then around the Mantra three times before proceeding down High st.

We encourage you to bring your own signs and decorate your cars with signs and slogans like
“Free the Refugees”
“Covid19: Detention Isn’t Safe”.
“Healthcare not detention“
“Let them stay“
“End Offshore and onshore detention”

Be careful not to cover number plates with signage, and obey all road rules.
Spray chalk (available from Bunnings) will wash off if you have any.

For health reasons we ask: no more than 2 people per car, and for people in cars to be from the same household. Do not get out of your car at any time. Do not come if you are sick, or in close contact with a sick person.

Bicycles are welcome, but do not ride in groups, only individually, stay at least 1.5m (further is better) away from any other riders.

Why we are protesting:

As the men detained in Preston Mantra have made clear during their protests, refugees now face the increased risk of coronavirus infection because of their detention conditions in Australia. The refugees are the definition of vulnerable people, many with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart and kidney problems, confined in places where any idea of social distancing is a joke.

These refugees were transferred to Australia for medical treatment, many have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to Covid-19. They are now having their lives once again put at risk by the Australian government.

The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and the Australian College of Infection Prevention and Control recommended releasing immigration detainees (currently caged in hotels and detention centres across the country) into the community. The shared dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms and the notorious handling of detainees by security mean that Covid will spread through detention centres quickly. Detention centres are running out of – or have already run out of hand sanitiser. English classes of more than 20 are running in rooms that don’t allow for physical distancing. Mantra hotel is even short of food, because of problems sourcing supplies, according to Serco.

Over 70 refugees and asylum-seekers brought from PNG and Nauru for medical treatment have been locked up at the Mantra Hotel in Preston for seven months. This is on top of six years they spent in offshore detention. Over 40 are behind the fences at the Broadmeadows detention centre. There are more than 1400 people being held in immigration detention centres across Australia.

We are calling for all refugees and asylum seekers to be released into the community immediately

For more information, ring Chris on 0403 013 183


April 10, 2020
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


215 Bell Street, Preston