The protest organized by the Refugee Action Collective of Victoria at the Broadmeadows Detention Centre currently houses 140 young asylum seekers from the ages of 13-18. The days event included a march and speakers attended by around 300 people but also witnessed some dramatic incidents of direct action and police repression which can be seen in the Youtube clip below.
Firstly three teenage asylum seekers detainees managed to escape to join the solidarity protest in the detention centre forecourt. One of the boys cut himself on the barb wire fence in the process and collapsed seemingly in shock before being given some basic first aid after coming too. After negotiation with the police the three boys eventually agreed to return to the centre voluntarily.
Secondly, a number of activists were sprayed in the fence with capsicum spray. The video below clearly shows one activist being sprayed from close contact in the face whilst locked onto the gate. This was a disgusting case of police repression and seen in conjunction with the use of tear gas and synthetic bullets on Christmas Island recently how the imposition of mandatory detention is eroding the civil liberties of all Australian’s not just asylum seekers.
Lastly, towards the end of the rally after many one activist Izzy Brown in an act of solidarity climbed over the barbed wire perimeter fence to break into the centre. She was quickly arrested and charged with “riotous behaviour”.
The rally itself and the days dramatic events have received virtually zero mainstream press coverage. According to Melbourne protests blog, only one mainstream camera crew turned up on the day and quicly left. A google news search today reveals no internet coverage at all from the mainstream press. However the inspiring acts of direct action by both detainees and solidarity protestors at Broadmeadows reflects the intensifying of the movement against mandatory detention both within and outside the centres around Australia. Easter with rallies and a convergence on Curtin Detention Centre will no doubt see a further escalation of the process.
Images by Melbourne Protest Blog