Vic: ‘Let them stay’ bridge protest

11 Feb – Two protesters who suspended themselves from a Melbourne bridge with a banner imploring the federal government to let asylum seekers facing deportation stay in Australia are back on the ground.

Katherine Woskett, 25, and Hannah Patchett, 22, began their protest on the Yarra Bend Road overpass on the Eastern Freeway alongside a “let them stay” banner at 7.30am on Thursday.

They want to stop the imminent deportation of 267 asylum seekers, including 37 babies, from Australia to Nauru.

A High Court decision on February 3 cleared the way for their return following a failed challenge against Australia’s offshore processing arrangements.

Ms Woskett and Ms Patchett’s protest ended after about three hours when they came down on their own accord and spoke to waiting police officers, who confiscated their banner.

“The pair left pending further inquiries,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman told journalists.

It’s unclear if the women will be charged but police have told them to expect a summons in the mail.

The pair had widespread support on social media, as well as from asylum seekers in detention.

“All day we have been receiving messages from refugees who are actually in detention centres,” said protest spokeswoman Helen War.

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