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Police Fine Refugee Supporters For Carrying Placards In Melbourne

In another disgraceful display of an authoritarian state attacking the right to protest, Victorian police have again turned out to fine refugees supporters for being outside the Mantra hotel-prison that is holding 65 refugees in unsafe conditions.

"Despite announcing that the exercise protest at the Mantra Hotel had been postponed, Victorian police nonetheless turned out in numbers to issue fines to anyone carrying a placard outside the Mantra Hotel," said Lucy Honan for the Refugee Action Collective.

“Three people exercising and carrying signs saying ‘detention is a covid risk’ had their details taken and were told they would get fines in the mail. Two were told by police that they will be fined twice ($3304 each) for not leaving quickly enough. People not carrying signs were not fined.

“When thousands of people are exercising over the weekend in Darebin, it is crystal clear that these three refugee supporters have been targeted for their political views. It is the refugees at the Mantra hotel who are not safe, not refugee supporters carrying signs."

"This ongoing imprisonment of innocent people and the blatant harassment of their supporters is a gross injustice and a naked exercise of punitive authoritarian power," said Mark, who was fined twice today.

“The Refugee Action Collective calls on Premier Daniel Andrews to end his silence, to speak up for the refugees in the Mantra, and to call on his police to stop harassing and fining refugee rights supporters. Safe political protest calling to free refugees at risk of Covid-19 is an essential activity and must be allowed” concluded Honan.

The postponed RAC protest will go ahead at the Mantra hotel next Sat May 16 at 2pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/541999746733208/

Video of the people being fined is available here: https://www.facebook.com/DmCoCo/videos/10158122235142226/

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