Thousands rally for refugees on Palm Sunday

March 29, 2015

Up to 15,000 people joined the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees in Melbourne on March 29, more than double the numbers from last year refugee advocates said.

Large rallies and marches were also held in 12 other Australian cities, and 19 cities overseas, demanding refugees be released from detention.

Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

About 300 people in detention on Nauru also joined the protest and called for an end to offshore detention centres.

PALM SUNDAY PROTEST ON NAURUOver 300 refugees who are now living in the Nauruan comunity have joined in the worldwide protest today.Close offshore detention.#shameaustralia #shamenauru

Posted by Refugees on Nauru on Saturday, 28 March 2015

Dozens of groups were involved in the protests. Sarah Hathway from Combined Refugee Action Group in Geelong told Green Left Weekly: "There were students for refugees, grandmothers for refugees, Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees representing several regional surf coast towns, the Combined Refugee Action Group from Geelong representing church groups, unions, students, social work sector, socialists, Greens and Labor for Refugees."

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre campaign coordinator Pamela Curr told the rally: "This government may be breaking our hearts, but they will not break our spirits."

An anonymous former Nauru worker spoke in defiance of attempts to silence whistleblowers. "I will not be silent. Nauru is not safe. We spend millions of dollars a year locking up men, women and children. This is money spent on cruelty."

Former refugee Mohammad Ali Baqiri said: "This same government continues to damage our national image and hurt our reputation," he said. "We desperately need leaders with a human approach who offer care and protection to those who need peace and security,” the Age reported on March 29.

Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

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