With the Djokovic saga making global headlines, activists have been using the spotlight on Australia’s immigration policies, increasing calls on Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to use his powers to release asylum seekers from detention.
A protest organised by refugee supporters was expected to kickstart at 2pm on Sunday at Carlton’s Park Hotel, where Nokav Djokovic has been temporarily held along with thirty three asylum seekers who have spent years in detention.
“Djokovic is back in the Park Hotel, but the 33 refugees have never left,” said Chris Breen for the Refugee Action Collective.
“Thirty three refugees in the Park Hotel and 60 in total across Australia are still being tortured by the government in hotel-prisons and detention centres, more than two years after they were transferred to Australia for medical treatment, and almost nine years including offshore detention, because of Coalition government vindictiveness and political games.”
One of the speakers at the protest, who was expected to appear live from inside the Park Hotel, via phone, was Adnan Choopani who sought asylum in Australia as a teenager and has since spent the last 9 years in detention despite his claim for protection being formally recognised over five years ago.
“Adnan Choopani who is speaking at the rally has had his youth destroyed. He came at 15 years of age and has spent more than a third of his life in detention.
The visa powers that are being used against Djokovic could be used to free him and the other refugees,” Mr Breen said.
“Djokovic may be denied the ability to play in the Australian Open but refugees have been tortured and denied freedom for nine years – they must be set free.”