Australian Immigration Minister Accosted by Pro-refugee Protesters

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Australian Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen was accosted by pro-refugee activists today while giving a press conference in Smithfield.

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen with members of the press.

A pro-refugee activist makes her feelings known to Minister Bowen.

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen

Pro-refugee activists marching through Fairfield.

Pro-refugee activists marching through Fairfield.

Pro-refugee activists marching through Fairfield.

A bystander watches as pro-refugee activists march through the streets of Fairfield.

Pro-refugee activists marching through Fairfield.

Pro-refugee activists gathering outside the electoral office of Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The protesters had gathered outside his electoral office in nearby Fairfield when word got out that the minister was speaking to the press a short distance away.

More details and images at my Demotix site.

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.