Pro-asylum seeker protesters force suspension of Australian parliament

By REUTERS
November 30, 2016 08:43

About 30 protesters clashed with security guards at Australia's parliament on Wednesday, some gluing themselves to handrails and shouting "close the camps", in a rowdy demonstration against the detention of asylum seekers in remote Pacific camps.

The protesters, who reached the parliamentary public gallery above sitting politicians, forced Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to leave the chamber and the suspension of parliament.

Many protesters were wrestled to the ground by security and dragged from the chamber.

"We are here today because the madness has to stop," one protester shouted.

Under Australia's tough border security policy, asylum seekers intercepted trying to reach the country by boat are sent for processing at the camps on Papua New Guinea's Manus island and Nauru in the South Pacific.

Both major Australian political parties support the offshore detention policy, which has won elections, despite widespread criticism by the United Nations and human rights groups which say the detention amounts to abuse.

Even if detainees are determined to be genuine refugees, a process which can take years, they are still banned from resettling in Australia.


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