37 baby cribs were placed on Bondi Beach in powerful message in support of asylum seekers
Image: Frank Gazzolla
A campaign to stop asylum seekers in Australia from being sent to offshore detention has found its way onto one of the country's most famous beaches.
Thirty-seven cribs were laid out on Bondi Beach on Friday morning, part of a peaceful protest organised by local and founder of community group Think Act Change, Avis Mulhall.
The Australian government's decision to move 267 asylum seekers, 37 of these babies, to detention centres on the island of Nauru has been met with fierce opposition by the #LetThemStay campaign. Supporters have called on authorities to stop the relocation of these people, many of which have mental or medical issues.
"We have 37 cribs here on the beach, one for each baby the government is planning to send back to Nauru," Mulhall said in a statement sent to Mashable Australia via email.
"We are sending [Australian Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull a very clear and visual message that the people of Bondi — the people who vote for him — have spoken, and they want to let them stay. We want these babies to call Australia home, not send them to a life in prison," Mulhall added. Mulhall had put the protest together in two days, with volunteers working all day Thursday to pull it off. Two hundred people attended the event, which was announced only 24 hours before it began.
Representatives from community advocacy group GetUp! and human rights organisation Amnesty International also spoke at the event, speaking of the country's past humane approach when it came to dealing with refugees.
"More and more people in our community have had enough of the Australian government's policy of processing and detaining children, men and women in offshore centres," Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International's spokesperson, told beachgoers. "The Australian government can do better. We can welcome into our community people who are seeking safety and protection."
Earlier this week, state politicians such as Victorian premier Daniel Andrews along with the country's churches told the federal government that they will offer protection to these asylum seekers, an offer which has fallen on deaf ears thus far.
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