Protesters demand rights for refugees still locked in the Mantra Hotel

Refugee action
Refugee rights protest outside Melbourne's Mantra Hotel. Photo: Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) Facebook

About 150 people participated in a protest for refugee rights on November 14 outside the Mantra Hotel in Preston, where 65 refugees are detained.

These refugees were brought to Australia from Manus Island and Nauru offshore immigration detention camps for medical treatment, but most have received little or no treatment.

The protest had a roster system, with groups of nine people standing outside the hotel for 10 minutes, then moving away to be replaced by another group to comply with Victoria's COVID-19 health regulations, which restrict public gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The action, organised by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria), demanded that all refugees held in detention be freed and given permanent protection. It also demanded that JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments be made available to refugees and asylum seekers living in the community, many of whom have no income and depend on charity.

Ismail Hussein, a refugee detained in the Mantra, addressed the protest via mobile phone. Other speakers included Jana Favero from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Aran Mylvaganam from the Tamil Refugee Council.