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Pop up Protest at Big Banana letter sent to Coffs Advocate 14 April 2016

Rural Australians For Refugees have started a Pop-Up Protest campaign in the lead up to the next Federal Election in the Nambucca, Bellingen and Coffs area. 
After a successful protest in Toormina a few weeks ago they gathered in front of the Big Banana on Thursday afternoon. Banners and placards supporting the rights of asylum seekers and calling for the closure of Nauru and Manus detentions centres were greeted with toots and thumbs up from passing motorists and enquiries from people visiting the famous Coffs landmark. 
The group has been campaigning in the local area since the murder of Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, on Manus Island just over two years ago. 
In that time RAR groups have formed all around the country from  Fremantle in WA to Ballina on the Far North Coast and with the recent #LetThemStay rallies around the country the tide of public opinion seems to be turning. When confronted with the facts of offshore detention and the damage it is doing to vulnerable people fleeing the horrors of war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan many Australians are asking their politicians, both LNP and ALP, to do the right thing and accord these people their rights under the UN Convention relating to  Status of Refugees to which Australia is a signatory. 
They are asking that these people be immediately moved to Australia to have their refugee claims assessed and treated with dignity and not used as political pawns as they were in the last election. 
Protests will be taking place throughout the area every couple of weeks and they continue to hold market stalls around the area to help educate locals about the issues facing asylum seekers. RAR will be at the Harbourside Markets on Sunday 24th April.

John Pollock

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