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Thousands of Manus Island protesters take to the streets

Thousands of Australians have protested on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, showing their support for the refugees who were forcibly removed form Manus Island last week.

Across the nation, thousands of Australians took to the streets in solidarity against the federal government’s treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Protestors came together in Sydney and Melbourne to call for the men detained on Manus Island to be brought to Australia.

The protests were organised by activist group GetUp! The organisation’s human rights director, Shen Narayanasamy said she expected to see thousands of people from throughout Australia band together for the refugees on Manus Island.

“Our message is that our country is causing a humanitarian emergency on Manus Island and people have to evacuated from the island and brought to Australia immediately,” she said.

The UNHCR said it was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the forced removal of the men left of Manus.

A message from Iranian detainee Behrouz Boochani was read out to the crowd thanking people for their support.

“We could never resist peacefully without you people in Australia and I appreciate you once again,” he said.

“We decided to resist on our own, but your support gave us faith that there are still people who care, and who are willing to stand up for justice.”

He said security forces from the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments had beaten those on Manus Island and had killed one of the dogs that had been living with the asylum seekers.

Labor MP Shayne Newman says the fault of the situation on Manus lies ‘squarely in the hands’ of Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton.

“[They] have failed to find adequate arrangements for third country resettlement options,” he told Sky News on Sunday

“If Labor was in power we would have been calling on the Americans to expedite the US resettlement arrangements, and we would be sitting down with the NZ government… to make sure people would be resettled in NZ.”

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