Pro-Refugee Rally in Sydney

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The Refugee Action Coalition held a rally in support of refugees and asylum seekers outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney today.

Protesters carry a banner through the screets surrounding the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.Protesters outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.Protesters outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.Protesters outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.Protesters outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.Protesters and police outside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

Protesters spoke out against the Gillard government’s “Malaysian solution” in which Australia will “swap” 800 refugees for 4000 asylum seekers already processed in Malaysia.

The crowd also voiced its opposition to the government’s policy of mandatory detention for refugees while their claims are assessed, a process which can take years.

Australian Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen is expected to announce details of the deal with Malaysia tomorrow.

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Gaza Flotilla Support Rally

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A small but supportive group met near Sydney’s Town Hall to show solidarity and support for the humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Palestine but currently detained in various ports in Greece by local authorities.

Pro-Palestine rally organisers setting up for a gathering outside Town Hall in downtown Sydney.

A passerby takes a leaflet from a pro-Gaza protester.

A rally organiser liases with police.

Supporters listen to speakers at a pro-Gaza rally.

NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon addresses the crowd.

Supporters listen to speakers at a pro-Gaza rally.

Blogger and freelance journalist Antony Loewenstein at the pro-Gaza rally.

Supporters listen to speakers at a pro-Gaza rally.

Supporters listen to speakers at a pro-Gaza rally.

The group gathered to hear from NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon as well as writer and activist Antony Loewenstein. Vivienne Porzsolt and Sylvia Hale are with the flotilla as Australian Freedom Flotilla delegates, and addressed the group by telephone.