Asylum seekers moved from Brisbane hotel to detention centre despite blockade

Protesters have failed to stop two asylum seekers being transferred from a city hotel to a detention centre northeast of Brisbane, as a blockade continues.

A protester holds a sign stating 'Free the refugees' during a protest outside Kangaroo Point Hotel in Brisbane.

A protester holds a sign stating 'Free the refugees' during a protest outside Kangaroo Point Hotel in Brisbane. Source: Pacific Press/Sipa USA

Protesters have failed to stop the transfer of two asylum seekers to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre despite blocking the entrance.

The men had been staying at a Kangaroo Point hotel, where activists staged a sit-in on Sunday on one of Brisbane's busiest arterial roads.

Protesters have blockaded the hotel entrance for 39 days to prevent the transfer of more than 100 asylum seekers held there to the accommodation centre near Brisbane Airport.

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Protest organiser Dane De Leon says the two men attempted self-harm overnight and were taken to nearby Princess Alexandra Hospital for treatment.

However, instead of being transferred back to the hotel where most of the men have been living for about a year, they were taken to BITA at Pinkenba, about 15 kilometres northeast of the CBD.

"They saw that as opportunity to transfer the men," she told AAP.

Protesters take a knee and show support to refugees being detained at a Brisbane hotel.
Protesters take a knee and show support to refugees being detained at a Brisbane hotel. Source: Pacific Press/Sipa USA


More than a dozen police were outside the entrance to BITA when the asylum seekers were being transferred, Brisbane City Councillor Jonathan Sri said.

"There are three cars blocking the driveway and the van that attempted to transfer the men can't get in to the immigration facility ... with the refugees still in the van," Mr Sri, a Greens councillor, said during a livestream of the blockade.

Footage showed police warning arrests would be made if the vehicles weren't moved.

Despite the protesters' efforts, the two men were taken into BITA through a rear gate, Cr Sri said.

The transfer of the men comes the day after Sunday's rally which marked seven years since the Australian government, under then-prime minister Kevin Rudd, introduced regional resettlement for asylum seekers.

Some have been confined to the hotel for a year but have spent up to seven years in detention overall.


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Published 20 July 2020 at 4:56pm
Source: AAP, SBS