PHOTOS: Nationwide refugee protests slam 'cruel gov't'

Thousands gathered around Australia with less than 24 hours’ notice to protest against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s newly announced policy of denying asylum in Australia to all refugees arriving by boat.

About 700 people gathered in Sydney on July 20. Protesters sat down in the middle of George St in the CBD, blocking a big city intersection while several speeches were made. Photos by Peter Boyle.

More than 1500 people took to Melbourne’s streets in pouring rain on the same day. Geelong Trades Hall Secretary Tim Gooden told the crowd: "This is an amazingly cruel government. If trade unions are not prepared to take a stand on this issue, they should not call themselves unions." Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi

Hundreds also rallied in Perth with speeches from Greens senator Scott Ludlam, Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright, Refugee Rights Action Network Victoria Martin-Iverson and Curtin Guild president Jess McLeod. Photos by Alex Bainbridge.

Rallies in Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra are planned for next week.

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