Protest meeting with Australian Border Force to gain day release for a group of refugees holed up inside a Brisbane apartment complex is labelled “a joke”.
Protest meeting with Australian Border Force to gain day release for a group of refugees holed up inside a Brisbane apartment complex is labelled “a joke”.

‘Go around the damn bridge’: Story Bridge protest back on

Brisbane's Story Bridge is again set to be blocked by refugee activists this weekend after talks between protest organisers and Australian Border Force (ABF) today were deemed "a joke".

Representatives for activist group Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/ Meanjin met this morning with ABF and Queensland Police to discuss their demand of freedom of movement for 120 male refugees being detained inside a Kangaroo Point apartment complex.

A Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/ Meanjin spokeswoman told the media today's meeting was "a joke" and they walked out after about one hour because the ABF "came in bad faith".

"It was a joke the ADF and Qld police are both complicit in facilitating human rights abuse; they came unprepared (and) they brought nothing to the table," she said.

"The people that were in the meeting kept saying that they were unable to make decisions, (that) they were all policy decisions, so what was the point of the meeting?

"It was a waste of time for us so we thought after an hour we have better things to do than listen to bureaucrats tell us that there is nothing that they can do."

The spokeswoman said the group would go-ahead with a protest on Saturday, which was originally planned for last Saturday, but cancelled after Supreme Court action by the state's Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath.

Supporters of Jarrah Kershau and Laura Harland protest outside the District Court in Brisbane. The two were named as the organisers of the Story Bridge sit-in pro refugee protest in an injunction application by the Attorney General. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled
Supporters of Jarrah Kershau and Laura Harland protest outside the District Court in Brisbane. The two were named as the organisers of the Story Bridge sit-in pro refugee protest in an injunction application by the Attorney General. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled

"We stand by our word, we haven't had our demands met today, unless the Minister says that they support day-release, on Saturday we will be meeting at Raymond Park at 12pm," she said.

"There will either be thousands of people at the protest, or nobody if the border force says that they support day release."

She alluded that the protest would go ahead even if a court injunction was issued.

"We have hundreds of people who are willing to be arrested to make sure that the men inside Kangaroo Point are free," she said.

"It's been seven years, what else can we do?

"I know that everybody has their concerns with safety and the bridge … you can go around the damn bridge."

Refugees at Kangaroo Point Hotel. Picture: Attila Csaszar
Refugees at Kangaroo Point Hotel. Picture: Attila Csaszar

The spokeswoman said that the health risks of transmitting coronavirus at the protest this weekend were lower than last week.

"The reason that we stopped the protest last time was because the health officer or something said that weekend was really important in making sure there were no transmissions, and yesterday we were in the clear," she said.

"Now we know that we are allowed to do it, football is still on, a lot of mass gatherings are still on so we are allowed to gather."

Originally published as 'Go around the damn bridge': Story Bridge protest back on



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