Outpouring of support for Abyan

A Sydney snap action for Abyan on October 23. Photo: Paul Rubner.

Hundreds joined snap protests across the country, and more than 50,000 signed a petition, within days of Somali refugee Abyan being sent back to Nauru.

Abyan became pregnant as a result of being raped while in detention on Nauru. Despite being flown to Australia on October 12 to discuss a planned termination with doctors, Abyan was sent back against her will and without receiving any medical attention.

Hundreds gathered outside the Immigration Department office in Melbourne on October 19, chanting, “Bring back Abyan” and “Close Nauru, close Manus”. Rallies were also held that day outside Immigration Department offices in Sydney and Darwin.

In Brisbane, protesters targeted immigration minister Peter Dutton's office on October 21. Protests were also held in Canberra and Sydney on October 23 and Melbourne on October 24.

On October 20, a variety of refugee support groups presented a petition, signed by over 50,000 people, to politicians in Canberra. The petition called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to “bring Abyan back to Australia immediately, and ensure she is given all appropriate medical care and support.”

The petition now has more than 100,000 signatories.

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