Protesters disrupt Melbourne Cup to demand ‘free all refugees’

Photo: Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance

Refugee rights activists blocked the main entrance to the Melbourne Cup on November 6. They called on the government to release all the refugees in detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens’ Alliance (WACA) spokesperson Charlotte Lynch said: “We encourage every person of good conscience to examine our complicity in cruelty today. While so-called Australia parties at the Melbourne Cup, children and adults are suffering in detention on Nauru, Manus Island, Christmas Island and in onshore detention centres.”

“There are 17 children held under constant surveillance at [Melbourne Immigration Transit Accomodation], Broadmeadows, alongside refugees who have been incarcerated there for up to a decade. MITA is only 14 kilometres from Flemington Racecourse where millions of dollars will be splashed around on the Melbourne Cup that will only benefit the already-wealthy.”

Protesters also called for an end to the mandatory detention of refugees and an immediate evacuation of all refugees from detention centres.