A Greens Senator has confronted police who attacked protestors trying to stop the transfer of refugees to Christmas Island.
Lidia Thorpe joined protestors outside Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) on yesterday (May 3).
She's since posted footage of the encounter on social media.
We're here in solidarity to stop 12 innocent people being deported to Christmas island. pic.twitter.com/q31HacGFsu— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) May 3, 2022
In the video, she says: “How dare you people do that to innocent people? Is it not enough that you’re locking up innocent people?”
She added: “You are the criminals. You are the only criminals on this land. How dare you treat people like that?
“Do you know how many innocent people are in there [MITA]? Have you done your research as officers of the law? Have you done that? Because they are all innocent.”
The confrontation came about after police had used pepper spray on a group of protestors who attempted to block a vehicle transferring the refugees out of the centre.
Within her two minute rant towards police, she claimed the police ‘manhandled’ women as well as herself during the protest.
She added: “I know you got to do your job but why do you have to get violent? I’m not here for violence.”
Footage emerged after the bus had left of one police officer pepper spraying the rest of the protestors before throwing another demonstrator to the ground.
Afterwards, when the bus is long gone and medics are helping the injured, this cop walks in and pepper sprays them all.— Refugee Solidarity Meanjin (@RSMeanjin) May 3, 2022
"Fuck off!" he screams. "Fuck off!"
Then he runs back and throws someone to the ground.
He was heard saying ‘f**k off’ multiple times as he aimed his spray at the faces of the protestors.
Protest group, Close the Camps, who was present at MITA at the action said: “Yesterday, at Stop Deportations action at MITA, we got a small but malicious taste of what prisoners in immigration detention experience on the daily.
“We were physically assaulted, pepper-sprayed, and mocked. PORT (Police Public Order Response Team) cops relished in the violence. Serco guards gleeful in inhumanity.”
A spokesperson for the Victorian Police told News Corp there was a ‘highly visible police presence in the area to prevent breaches of the peace and to ensure community safety’.
Yesterday, at #StopDeportations action at #MITA we got a small but malicious taste of what prisoners in immigration detention experience on the daily. We were physically assaulted, pepper sprayed & mocked. PORT cops relished in violence. @SercoGroup guards gleeful in inhumanity. https://t.co/mG9W1V7wey— Close the Camps Ac. (@ClosetheCamps) May 4, 2022
The Morrison government reopened the detention centre on Christmas Island in August 2020, with more than 212 current refugees there, according to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).
The ASRC says people residing in MITA had been handcuffed without notice and loaded onto minibuses in order to be transferred to an unknown location.
In a statement, Hannah Dickinson, Principal Solicitor and Manager of the Human Rights Law Program at ASRC said: “Experts have called for its urgent closure.
"Instead, the Morrison Government is transferring people there en masse in a secretive, military-style operation, with no notice or right of reply.
“This appalling practice speaks volumes of the worsening crisis in immigration detention.”
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Senator Lidia Thorpe
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