In early June about 50 people picketed the MITA refugee detention centre in Broadmeadows on the outskirts of Melbourne. The emergency protest was called upon hearing the news that 14 asylum seekers were to be deported from the MITA centre to the detention camp on Christmas Island.
The families were being moved against their will and many were suffering from health issues.
Refugee rights activists blocked the entrances to the MITA detention centre from 6.30am for about 5 hours. This was the first time in recent memory that activists had attempted to physically stop a deportation in Melbourne. Many were inspired by similar actions that took place at the Villawood detention centre in Sydney during April.
While the police were able to eventually break the picket, the action has helped raise the level of debate in the movement about the tactics needed to defeat the government’s cruel policies of mandatory detention and offshore processing of refugees.
For its part, the Socialist Party advocates coupling mass protests for refugee rights with direct action aimed at stopping the implementation of the government’s policies. Companies that profit from the mandatory detention system should also be targeted.
By Anthony Main