Thousands Rally To Protest Refugee Detention
Protesters have taken to Australian streets demanding refugees still languishing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island be brought to Australia immediately.
Protests have been held across Australia to mark five years since the federal government reintroduced the policy of offshore processing for asylum seekers arriving by boat.
Thousands of people rallied around the country with large crowds stopping traffic in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Protesters on Saturday demanded that refugees still languishing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island be brought to Australia immediately.
They held placards stating: "Close Manus, close Nauru, bring them here."
A statement was read out from Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani who's been on Manus for five years.
"Many innocent people on Manus and Nauru are still suffering," he said.
"Too many Australians are still indifferent to this or too unsure of what to do.
"But you make us stronger. We watch you raise your voices in the Australian streets and feel your presence here with us."
Mr Boochani called on people to remember the 12 asylum seekers who have died on Manus Island and Nauru since 2013.
"Those young men were just seeking freedom and instead found the cruelty and violence of the Australian state," he said.
Then-prime minister Kevin Rudd announced on July 19, 2013, that "any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as a refugee".
That policy has been maintained under the subsequent Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull-led coalition governments.