Activists blockade detention centre to block Tamil man’s deportation

Photos by Tony Iltis

About 40 refugee activists blockaded the Maribrynong detention centre on October 31 to prevent the deportation of a Tamil asylum seeker known as Anjan.

There are two Tamil asylum seekers facing deportation held in Maribyrnong detention centre, but only one had been issued with a removal notice saying he would be deported on October 31.

Activists from the Tamil community and the Refugee Action Collective gathered at 7am and began the blockade. A range of speakers spoke to the crowd about the plight of Anjan and of asylum seekers more broadly.

Recently elected Moreland city councillor, Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton, made her first public address after the election result saying, “unjust laws must be broken”.

Anjan, 42, arrived in Australia by boat in February 2010 after fleeing from the war zone in Sri Lanka. During the war, one of his brothers was a member of the Tamil Tigers and was killed by the Sri Lankan military. Another one of Anjan's brothers disappeared. Anyone with family links to the Tamil Tiger members are at risk of being imprisoned, tortured and killed if they are returned to Sri Lanka.

At about 1.30pm, activists received word that the a court injunction to prevent Anjan’s deportation had been successful. This news was greeted with cheers.

The injunction prevents Anjan from being deported at least until after a court case in early January.

[The Refugee Action Collective has organised a Cup Day Welcome Refugees BBQ & Festival from 1pm at Maribyrnong Detention Centre, 53 Hampstead Rd, Maribyrnong.]

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