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Pro-asylum protest halts Australia’s parliament

Australian parliament in Canberra has been disrupted by about 30 people demonstrating againsts Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

In 2015-16, Australia accepted 13,750 people through its humanitarian programme and has committed to accepting an additional 12,000 refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq.

Asylum seekers have attempted to reach Australia on boats from Indonesia, often paying large sums of money to people smugglers. Hundreds have died making the dangerous journey.

When asylum seekers reach Australia by boat, they are not held in Australia while their claims are processed.

Instead, they are sent to an offshore processing centre. Currently Australia has one such centre on the Pacific island nation of Nauru and another on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

As a result the activists bursted out forced the suspension of proceedings for 40 minutes on Wednesday.

Some activists glued their hands to railing in the public gallery for that the guards used hand sanitizer to remove six protesters on Saturday.

The government believes its tough policy of offshore detention for asylum seekers prevents deaths at sea.

The policy is also supported by the opposition Labor Party.Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance claimed responsibility for the protest.

when the situation got worse, the demonstrators shouted the detention policy was “separating families” and “killing innocent people”.

“We are here today because you have become world leaders in cruelty,” the protesters said. Both major parties condemned the interruption.

“On behalf of the government, I would like to apologize to the rest of the members of the public who came to Canberra today to watch the parliament,” said Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten thanked security staff for their handling of the demonstration.”The reason why the Labor Party stayed in here today is because we will never give in to those who wish to shut down this parliament,” he said.”This is the exact opposite of democracy.”

However, Greens MP Adam Bandt praised the protesters for their actions.

“Question Time brought to a halt as peaceful protesters hold MPs to account demanding gov #CloseTheCamps. Brave. Powerful. Proud,” he wrote on Twitter.

Last month, the Australian government rejected a human rights report comparing its asylum seeker camp on the Pacific island of Nauru to an open-air prison.

The protest on Wednesday comes two weeks after Australia and the US reached a resettlement deal for asylum seekers held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Australia and asylum

  • The number of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and early2013. Scores of people have died making the journey.
  • To stop the influx, the government adopted tough measures intended as a deterrent.
  • Everyone who arrives is detained. Under the policy, asylum seekers are processed offshore atcentres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
  • The government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around.

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