Free the refugees detained in Kangaroo Point at risk of COVID-19

April 19, 2020
Video: Free the refugees detained in Kangaroo Point, at risk of Covid 19. GreenLeftOnline/YouTube.

More than 100 refugees are detained in the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel in Brisbane after being brought to Australia from Manus or Nauru for medical reasons.

The COVID-19 crisis presents a major added risk for these refugees. A solidarity action was held outside the hotel on April 17.

"This is not a normal situation for us," Farhad, a refugee detained at Kangaroo Point told Green Left.

"This is an emergency situation."

Farhad told Green Left that the refugees would be safer if they were looking after themselves in the community rather than being detained. He pointed to the difficulties in maintaining physical distancing while in detention and that hotel staff and security guards who have regular contact with both refugees and broader community members puts the refugees "in real danger".

"We want to be among those who care about us," he said referring to the activists who had come to express solidarity. "Then we would be on top of our life and we could protect ourselves" whereas in detention "it is almost impossible."

Activists outside were expressing solidarity by exercising outside the hotel. Maintaining physical distancing and participating in a permitted activity (exercise) the action was safe.

Many refugees held signs highlighting the fact that they have committed no crimes yet they've been held in detention for seven years.

The refugees held at Kangaroo Point were brought to Australia under the Medevac legislation — many have underlying health conditions that would make a COVID-19 outbreak more devastating.

The action was also held in the context of refugee activists being fined and in one case arrested for organising a safe protest in Melbourne on April 11.

Another solidarity action will be held on April 24. This time with participants holding signs while exercising.


Solidarity action with refugees detained at Kangaroo Point
Solidarity action with refugees detained at Kangaroo Point

More photos on the Green Left Facebook page.

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