Second dramatic protest hits Australia”s parliament


Second dramatic protest hits Australia”s parliament

Image caption
Federal police were at the scene

Protesters campaigning against the Australian government”s treatment of asylum seekers have breached parliament security for a second day.

Two protesters abseiled down Parliament House in Canberra, unfurling a banner saying “close the bloody camps now”.

Metres away on the ground, 13 more demonstrators held placards in a pond they dyed red to symbolise blood.

It comes a day after parliament was suspended when protesters glued their hands to railing in the public gallery.

The protest banners on Thursday called for an end to offshore detention and the controversial policy of boat turnbacks.

The Australian government believes its tough policy of offshore detention for asylum seekers prevents deaths at sea. The policy is also supported by the opposition Labor Party.

Last month, the Australian government rejected a human rights report comparing its asylum seeker camp on the Pacific island of Nauru to an open-air prison.

Australia asylum: Why is it controversial?

Image caption
The protesters poured red dye into a pond in front of parliament

The same group, Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance, was responsible for forcing the suspension of parliament for 40 minutes on Wednesday.

In heated scenes, the group of about 30 demonstrators shouted the detention policy was “separating families” and “killing innocent people”.

Security guards used hand sanitiser to remove six protesters who glued their hands to railing in the public gallery.

“We are here today because you have become world leaders in cruelty,” the protesters said.

Image caption
One of the protesters is handled by security guards on Wednesday
Image caption
The protest spilled into the halls of parliament

Both major parties condemned the interruption.

“On behalf of the government, I would like to apologise to the rest of the members of the public who came to Canberra today to watch the parliament,” said Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten thanked security staff for their handling of the demonstration.

“The reason why the Labor Party stayed in here today is because we will never give in to those who wish to shut down this parliament,” he said.

“This is the exact opposite of democracy.”

However, Greens MP Adam Bandt praised the protesters for their actions.

“Question Time brought to a halt as peaceful protesters hold MPs to account demanding gov #CloseTheCamps. Brave. Powerful. Proud,” he wrote on Twitter.

The protest on Wednesday comes two weeks after Australia and the US reached a resettlement deal for asylum seekers held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Australia and asylum