“We’re blocking CBD peak-hour traffic to send a very clear message to the federal government that we don’t support sending vulnerable people to Christmas Island, and believe that all refugees should be released into the community,” he wrote on Facebook.
By 9am, the group had dispersed from their Adelaide Street sit-in where they heard voice messages over a speaker from some men inside the Kangaroo Point hotel site — some of whom had been in some form of immigration detention for more than seven years.
“What we’re asking for is our freedom,” one said. “Just to be free as a human being.
“All of our [lives] could get much much better”.
Police guided the group of activists through the city streets without incident, blocking some traffic as they went.
Relevant permissions were sought for the event and organisers said the event was done with COVID-19 precautions.
The Brisbane City Council advised the march was expected to cause “major disruption to peak hour traffic in and around the CBD”, including George and Adelaide streets.
“Queensland Police Service (QPS) has indicated it may close some streets,” a council statement said. “Diversions will be in place and these will be managed by QPS.”
Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul said the Labor states of Queensland and Victoria, within which some refugees were held in makeshift hotel detention, “could be doing far far more … to shut the detention centres inside their borders”.
Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.