Hundreds of people turned out for the Brisbane leg of a national day of action demanding #JusticeForRefugees. Protesters took over Main Street, Kangaroo Point, and laid shoes on the road — symbols of the refugees that have been unfairly detained for seven years.
In a defining and moving moment, when protesters realised that the wife and son of a detained refugee were among the crowd, they called out for the detained father to be allowed to hug his son. A chant of "Let him hug his son" started as protesters moved towards the gates and started climbing the walls.
Despite being only five metres from each other — but on different sides of the fence — police and Serco officers refused to allow the couple to embrace, or even touch, a symbol of the petty cruelty of Australia's refugee demonisation policy.
Activists put forward three demands: no more forced transfers of refugees from Kangaroo Point to more draconian detention; refugees be allowed to move in and out of detention (to be able to exercise, for example); and for all refugees to be released into the community by Christmas.
Police moved in and made arrests in the evening, after many people had already left.
The campaign continues (including a 24-hour vigil to prevent forced transfers) and another rally has been called for June 20.
[For more photos visit the Green Left Facebook page.]