Protesters locked themselves in a cage outside the Department of Immigration at 7am on June 6 to protest against the mandatory and indefinite detention of people seeking asylum.
Spokesperson for the group, Our Backyard, Melanie Brown said: “We are occupying this department today because of the government's policy to imprison innocent people and deny them basic rights, both offshore and right here in our backyard.”
The protesters regularly visit people in Melbourne's detention centres who have been transferred here from Manus Island and Nauru, and are taking this action out of concern for their safety.
“Despite being brought here from offshore detention, our friends are still being locked away in extremely cramped conditions with no access to privacy and very limited movement. The Turnbull government's policy of indefinite detention is actively depriving them of any prospect of freedom or path to a peaceful life,” Brown said.
Fellow protester Robbie Smith said, “Melbourne is a beautiful and unique home to people from diverse backgrounds who are able to freely participate in our community. We would be so much better off allowing these men and women languishing behind fences in our suburbs the opportunity to contribute to our society.”
Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Australian Border Force and demand humane treatment of people seeking asylum in Melbourne. Local politicians have also been contacted with an invitation to discuss more compassionate policy options.
“These are people right around the corner from us who are asking for the opportunity to live a life of peace and safety. Instead they are spending years in anxious limbo, with the constant threat of being returned to extreme danger on Manus, Nauru or the countries they fled from,” Smith said.
For more information on how to help go to the website.
Follow Our Backyard on twitter for a live stream: @ourbackyardact
And feel free to come down to the Immigration Department on the corner of Lonsdale and Spring streets in Melbourne to give support!
#OurBackyard #CloseTheCamps #EndDetention