These Manus Island Protesters Chained Themselves To Malcolm Turnbull’s House


Father Bower Kirribilli Protest

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A group of Christian protesters had to be cut free by police, after chaining themselves to the gate at Kirribilli House in solidarity with the asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Five people, including outspoken Gosford Anglican priest Father Rod Bower, staged the “lock on” at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Sydney on Monday afternoon. The protesters had chains around their necks, and carried signs calling for the closure of the immigration processing centres on Manus and Nauru.

“The message here is directly to Mr Turnbull,” Father Bower told BuzzFeed News. “The Liberal Party has a fantastic tradition of helping people. Back in the 1970s we brought refugees here from around the world.”

“I call upon Mr Turnbull to regain the wonderful tradition of the Liberal Party and have compassion for the men on Manus,” he added. “Evacuate now.”

The protesters were removed after NSW police cut their chains with bolt cutters and a grinder and loaded them into a police car. According to a police spokesperson they were issued move-along notices but were not arrested or charged.

The protest comes as the government finds itself under increasing pressure over its handling of the crisis on Manus Island. More than 300 asylum seekers have now been moved to alternative facilities on the island following the closure of the detention centre at Lombrum Naval Base — although video from the new site shows it is still being built. The men are said to fear for their safety after having received threats from members of the local community. A number of them were also reportedly beaten by PNG authorities during the move.

Meanwhile, doctors from international aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres have been denied access to the new camp, despite growing concerns about the health and well-being of the men inside.

Feature image via Rob Bower on Twitter