Culture

Here Are All The Manus Island Shutdown Protests Happening This Weekend

Chances are there's a rally nearby you can join.

No doubt you’ve heard of the worsening crisis on Manus Island, where 606 asylum seekers have been left inside PNG’s Australian-sponsored detention centre with no food, water, electricity, or security.

The detention centre, housed on the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island, was “shut down” by the Australian and PNG governments on Tuesday — meaning all essentials were cut off from the refugees still inside. The government says that all essential services, including food, water, electricity and medical services, are available at alternative accomodation outside of the camp, but an unnamed PNG MP told The Australian that “it is up to Australia to accommodate them”.

Meanwhile, many in the PNG community are strongly against the refugees resettling there, and have threatened violent retaliation.

So, basically no one is owning responsibility for the 606 dispossessed, vulnerable refugees who have been left stranded in an unliveable detention camp. These men were seeking asylum in Australia, and the Australian government, acting on our behalf, has been holding them on Manus for over 1700 days. We are responsible. Us.

This morning reports emerged that the rainwater supplies the abandoned refugees were collecting have been contaminated, so refugees are now digging around the tropical camp trying to access fresh water. Meanwhile, paramilitary units and local looters surround the camp, threatening — with only a small contingent of PNG locals standing in vocal support of these asylum seekers. It is an utterly desperate and terrifying situation, but there are ways we can help.

All around the country local advocacy groups, along with the Refugee Action Coalition, are organising rallies, which will take place over the next couple of days. GetUp has produced easy-to-use phone call and email templates to help you contact your local MPs. And the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is planning a Campaign Week next month, in the lead up to Human Rights Day, to reach out to those suffering on Manus Island and Nauru.

So, the good news is, there’s tonnes you can still do right now to lend your support to the dire situation on Manus Island. So, let’s get into gear.


Where To Find Your Local #EvacuateNow Rally

There are rallies to protest what the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) is calling the “Manus Island siege” all over the country this weekend. Find your nearest rally, get your like-minded (and even not-like-minded) friends together, bring posters and a strong voice, and get there!

Sydney

Friday, 3 November @ 6.30pm — Amnesty International’s Sydney CBD group is holding a candle vigil outside the office of shadow Deputy Prime Minister Tanya Plibersek. Join the vigil at 672 Crown St, Surry Hills (near Cleveland St). You can join the event here.

Saturday, 4 November @ 1pm — the RAC has called an emergency action rally. You can join the rally at Hyde Park Nth in the CBD, and find more information on the event here.

Friday, 10 November @ 6pm — Peter Dutton has invited Tony Abbott to his fundraising event, so the RAC will protest outside the event, which will also include speakers from the local Aboriginal community, the Marriage Equality and Stop Adani campaigns. Join the protest at the Australian Technology Park, Redfern, and find more information on the event here.

Melbourne

Saturday, 4 November @ 2pm — The local RAC has called an emergency action rally. You can join the rally at The State Library in the CBD, and find more information on the event here.

Wednesday, 8 November @ 5pm — The Teachers4Refugees advocacy group has called an after-school rally to round out their day of action in schools and TAFEs. Bring your signs and t-shirts reading #IAmWatching to the rally at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. You can contact Teachers4Refugees to order t-shirts for your school/TAFE. Join the event here.

Canberra

Friday, 3 November @ 5.30pm — The local RAC has called an emergency action rally. You can join the rally at Garema Place, Civic, and find more information on the event here.

Brisbane

Friday, 3 November @ 6pm — The local RAC has called an emergency action rally. You can join the rally at King George’s Square, Brisbane, and find more information on the event here.

Regional

Friday, 3 November @ 4.30pm — There is a protest planned in Armidale NSW at the corner of Marsh and Dumaresq Streets. More information here.

Nationwide

Wednesday, 8 November @ all day — the Teachers4Refugees advocacy group has called a day of action in schools and TAFEs. Bring your signs and t-shirts reading #IAmWatching, and organise your school or TAFE to join in on the day. Join the event and find out more info here.


Organise A Photo Protest With Your Work, School, Friends or Family

More and more people are getting together to express their distress about Manus Island with a photo posted to social media. If you need help taking a stand via photo, the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney has put together a handy step-by-step guide. You can get all the details of how to take this peaceful action here.

Remember to include the hashtags: #IAmWatching, #WeAreWatching, #EvacuateNow, #Manus and/or #BringThemHere, and to tag in any of your local or federal MPs who you wish to get the message!


Use The GetUp! Template To Call Or Email You MPs

GetUp! has kindly created an online form and template to assist those of us nervous about making a phone call or sending an email to our Members of Parliament. It’s important to be calm, firm and to get the message across while remaining respectful — these forms can help.

To make a phone call to your local MP or to a federal MP (like Julie Bishop, Peter Dutton, Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek or Malcom Turnbull), use GetUp!’s phone call template here.

To send an email to your local MP or any federal MPs, use GetUp!’s email form here.


Join The ASRC’s Human Rights Day December Campaign

December 10 is Human Rights Day, which feels a little bittersweet right now. Still, the ASRC is planning a campaign from the first to the 10th of December to reach out to refugees struggling in the Australian-sponsored detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Join the ASRC newsletter today to get more information about their upcoming campaign, and in the meantime, the centre encourages everyone who wants to help to donate, volunteer or call their MPs so we can #BringThemHere.

If you have more information about calls to action to help the Manus Island shut down crisis that you’d like Junkee to promote, please contact Matilda at [email protected] or @mdixonsmith on Twitter.

Matilda Dixon-Smith is Junkee’s Staff Writer. She tweets at @mdixonsmith