Manus detention protesters descend on Melbourne Cup celebrations


A number of protests have unfolded near Flemington Racecourse as Manus Island detention protesters 'disrupt Melbourne Cup'.

A woman has been arrested after a car was parked across the train tracks at Ascot Vale, to prevent Melbourne Cup goers from arriving at the race. 

The car was parked in protest, calling for the release of Manus Island asylum seekers. 

Police confirmed the woman's arrest on Tuesday afternoon and the car has since been removed. 

A second separate protest is also unfolding at Flemington Racecourse - with two women scaling a crane with banners- also calling for the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island to be evacuated immediately.

The two protests are separate groups and they come as a PNG court ruled on Tuesday they would not be reinstating electricity, medical care, food and water supplies to the Manus Island detention centre.

Almost 600 refugees and asylum seekers have barricaded themselves inside as they feel it’s safer than being attacked by locals at the new accommodation near the main township.

Charlotte Lynch, a spokeswoman for the Whistle-blowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance - who are behind the crane protest, told SBS News the group were devastated by the court ruling.

Two WACA protesters - Hannah Patchett, 24, and Katherine Woskett, 27 - are currently on the crane with a banner reading: "SOS: Evacuate Manus Now!"

Ms Lynch said the protest had not been intervened by police or Melbourne Cup organisers.

The climbers plan to remain suspended from the crane indefinitely.

They are calling for refugees and asylum seekers abandoned by the Australian Government on Manus Island to be evacuated immediately from unsafe and inhumane conditions.

"We are joining with others across Australia to demand that the government evacuate the men on Manus immediately and bring them to safety for processing," Ms Lynch said.

"This is an emergency... we refuse to sit by whilst the Government, with the complicity of the Labor Party, puts over 600 men’s lives at risk."

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