Protesters must grow a brain … and a conscience

 

LOOSE-CANNON councillor Jonathan Sri and the other 400 protesters who care more about asylum seekers than ratepayers might like to move elsewhere to make their point. Christmas Island perhaps?

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Instead they seem hell bent on destroying local businesses and disrupting people's daily lives.

Sure, they are entitled to protest, it's a democratic right, but blocking peak-hour traffic twice a day for six months? Grow a brain, and a conscience.

And if that's not possible, then the State Government must do it for them and override such blatant anarchy.

At issue with the Greens councillor and his comrades is that around 120 men - brought to Australia from Manus Island and Nauru, mostly under orders they receive specialist medical care - have been detained in a Brisbane hotel for a year while others up to seven years.

They've been staying at the three-star Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments, on Main Street, just near the Story Bridge.

 

Mr Jonathan Sri at refugee protest at 721 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Saturday, June 13, 2020 – Picture: Richard Walker
Mr Jonathan Sri at refugee protest at 721 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Saturday, June 13, 2020 – Picture: Richard Walker

 

Mr Sri wants the men freed into the community, and certainly not transferred to the higher-security confines of Christmas Island.

"If it was safe for them to return home, the government would have deported them years ago," he said.

"So the crucial question now is whether we want to grant them asylum and release them, or keep them locked up forever."

By the government, he is meaning the Federal Government, and specifically Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and this is not lost on angry members of the public who argue the protests will cripple a local economy already stricken by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sri was elected to the Brisbane City Council.

And ratepayers, regardless of how they feel about the plight of asylum seekers, are right to be irked, if not incensed, that the bloke being paid good money to advocate for their best interests appears to have shifted focus.

 

Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba at refugee protest at 721 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Sunday, June 21, 2020 – Picture: Richard Walker
Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba at refugee protest at 721 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Sunday, June 21, 2020 – Picture: Richard Walker

 

They are also justified to be furious that such protests are permitted to go ahead at a time when pubs and other businesses are being heavily fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Where are the fines for a mob for whom social distancing means nothing?

The pledge that Mr Sri and others have signed, and which would appear to legitimise their selfish behaviour, reads: "I am willing to safely risk arrest to cause as much traffic disruption as possible if the government transfers detainees to higher-security facilities instead of releasing them into the community."

The fact that these bleeding hearts are not prepared to protest in a way that doesn't disadvantage Queenslanders who are simply trying to go about their business suggests they've lost the plot.

Protesters should be forced to move on, and each one who breaks the law arrested and, if convicted, have convictions recorded.

And while police are at it, fine them for breaching COVID-19 regulations.

It falls to the State Government to see that this happens.

Originally published as Protesters must grow a brain … and a conscience


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