Fiji gay rights protest at immigration center in Sydney

Fijian nationals protest against deportation back to their home country from Australia because of abuse against gay people there

Fiji gay rights protest at immigration center in Sydney
12 November 2012

Three Fijian nationals are protesting on the roof of Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney. One protestor said he feared being deported back to his home country because of abuse against gay people there.

‘Our banner said fear of the torture, fear of the sexual abuse and another banner said we want to live without fear because of the gay rights, we have no rights in Fiji,’ said one of the protestors, Sai Bulewa, Radio Australia reports.

A spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Immigration confirmed the protest this morning, saying ‘it’s a really fluid situation and it is changing all the time but I can say there are a small number of clients that are protesting’.

This morning The Daily Telegraph published a photograph of the protestors holding a banner saying ‘We want to live without fears. No Bainimarama Govt’.

Fiji is a democracy in name but Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2000 and again in 2006. In 2009 President Ratu Josefa Iloilo suspended the constitution, which included protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In May this year an LGBT rights march for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) was cancelled at the last minute when the police failed to offer organizers a permit

Another Department of Immigration spokesperson told AAP the protest will not affect the outcome of the asylum seekers’ applications to stay in Australia. ‘We would encourage those people to come down,’ she said, adding that security company Serco, which run the detention center, was managing the situation. 

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