Video: Kangaroo Point refugees forcibly removed

April 17, 2021

Border Force and Queensland Police forcibly transferred refugees from Kangaroo Point to BITA, a more remote detention centre near Brisbane airport, on April 16.

The move came an hour before a planned commemoration of one year since the first "Exercise for refugees" and more than 12 months after refugees began protesting on balconies at Kangaroo Point hotel detention.

A post on the Refugee Solidarity Meanjin page said that "while all of this was happening, while people surrounded buses on Lockerbie Street, many of the people inside were attending a federal court hearing by video to testify for their own freedom, to argue against being sent back to offshore hell.

"The government argued for the right to send them back, and lied that it was voluntary.

"But as the Serco guards roughly hustled them out, several of them unmuted their phones.

"The struggle, the shoving and screaming, the chants for freedom on Lockerbie Street broke through live into the federal court chamber and interrupted proceedings.

"The federal judge heard it all and it did not sound voluntary.

"It was a final act of defiance at 721 Main Street by people who have been silenced for far too long."

After speeches in the empty courtyard at the abandoned hotel-prison, refugee supporters marched a symbolic block around Kangaroo Point as had been done many times over the past twelve months. Many then went to BITA to express solidarity there.

Border Force representatives told the 19 refugees after transfer to BITA that some would stay there and some would be forcibly transferred to detention in Melbourne.

All should be released into the community without delay.

Update: On April 19, 17 Medevac refugees who were previously held at Kangaroo Point were forcibly transferred from BITA to a detention location in Melbourne. According to Amin Afravi, a refugee detained at BITA, their phones have been confiscated and three of them will be in handcuffs all the way to Melbourne. "Cage after cage for almost nine years for seeking safety," he said.


Refugee rights banner reading "Where is justice?"
One banner at the action read "Where is Justice?" - echoing the message of refugees inside Kangaroo Point. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

One piece of good news is that Saif - the refugee who for more than a year has pleaded to be allowed to "hug his son" who, with his wife, have been in community detention in Brisbane - was released from Kangaroo Point the day before the others were forcibly transferred.

Activists have vowed to continue the campaign until all refugees are freed.

The same RSM post also said that: "The prison is now shut, but those people are just in a different cage now, elsewhere, and the resistance goes on... The struggle goes on, the solidarity never ends."

More photos can be viewed on the Green Left Facebook page.

Video: Free the Refugees: Partial victory and next steps as refugees released / Green Left Show #2. Green Left.

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