Melbourne rallies for World Refugee Day

The protest called for justice for Reza Berati. Photo by Ali Bakhtiarvandi.

About 7000 people rallied in Melbourne for World Refugee Day on June 22.

The rally called for detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to be closed; for fair processing of asylum seekers; and for justice for Reza Berati, who was murdered in detention on Manus Island.

The rally included contingents from regional areas such as Geelong and Ballarat.

Reverend Alistair McRae from the Uniting Church said: "Policies of deprivation and punishment have taken the place of our legal and moral obligations of care. It's not OK. Shame on the government and the previous government."

Greens MP Adam Bandt said: "We need to stop the politics of fear. Let's start treating boat people like people. Let's welcome people into the community and process them here."

Zakia Baig from the Australia Hazara Women's Association said: "After 2000 when killing started in Quetta, Pakistan, there were many desperate women so I set up an education centre for them. This made people think they are not weak.

“I ran it for three years before getting threats. I had to choose coming to Australia because of threats. I came here as a student and I am a citizen now. This is a story of bad luck. We are forced to leave our homes, our friends. We want to be part of the Australian community."

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