LIVEBLOG: Activists, asylum seekers resist removals from Villawood to WA

A group of refugee rights activists staged an eight-hour blockade outside Villawood Immigration Detention Centre on April 3 to try to stop buses forcibly relocating refugees to Curtin Detention Centre in remote WA. Eight protesters, including Green Left Weekly's live blogger Rachel Evans (scroll down to see her photos from the action) were arrested.

UPDATE: April 5

11am: Riot police this morning forcibly dispersed about 100 protesters who had gathered outside the gates of Villawood detention centre, blocking the road to prevent two buses carrying asylum seekers from leaving.

Refugee advocates had been outside the centre since 11pm last night after rumours the asylum seekers would be moved in the middle of the night. Protesters report police used extreme violence during the operation to clear the road, with allegations police punched two protesters in the face. There were three arrests.

When buses drove out of the centre, the windows were blacked out to stop asylum seekers seeing the crowd. In response, the diverse crowd of protesters — including highschool students and regular visitors to the centre — chanted their support for the refugees.

Photos: Rachel Evans

Greens MLC John Kaye addresses the crowd on April 5.

A large contingent of police outside the centre.

This twitter feed has been set up by asylum seekers inside Villawood.

Video by Kate Ausburn of the police removing protesters.

Follow the action as it unfolded on April 3:


Two buses full of handcuffed asylum seekers have left Villawood despite activists blocking the road. Police have made six arrests, according to Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. Students for Refugees says at least eight arrests, several injured and a sit-in by refugees has begun inside the Villawood detention centre.

Photo reports from Rachel Evans reporting from the blockade for Green Left Weekly below:

10am: Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon is now here with us!

10.15am: Please come down and join us if you can. The buses are still inside.

Lock on!

Not in my name. Refugees are welcome here.

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