Subiaco: two men suspended above Julie Bishop’s office in protest against conditions on Manus Island removed by police

Subiaco: two men suspended above Julie Bishop’s office in protest against conditions on Manus Island removed by police

TWO men who were suspended four storeys above Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s office in Subiaco have been winched down by police.

Pastor Jarrod McKenna and psychologist Delroy Bergsma were protesting against conditions on Manus Island.

“The lives of 600 people on Manus Island hang in the balance, their fate is in Julie Bishop’s hands,” Mr McKenna said.

Speaking over the phone from the hanging tent, Mr McKenna said the pair set up before sunrise.

“We’re hoping this will get the kind of response that’s needed,” he said.

“Our deep concern is that if action isn’t taken, more people will die on Manus.”

Mr McKenna said the situation was an emergency, after the Australian Government decided to close the Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island and pull out support staff.

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights labelled events last week an “unfolding humanitarian emergency”.

Mr McKenna said he and Mr Bergsma had received multiple messages from other people around Australia who said they have exhausted their options of emailing and calling MPs.

“It’s desperation,” he said.

“Some people on Manus have been there for four years, and they wake up not knowing if it’s their last day or the first day of another four years.”

A spokeswoman from Ms Bishop’s office said there was nothing to say, and the events were a matter for police.

She also mentioned the Foreign Minister was currently in Vietnam.

Refugee Rights Action Network’s Sally Johnson watched events unfold from a park across from the Foreign Minister’s office.

“I think it’s amazing, I’m very proud of them,” Ms Johnson said.

“They’re putting themselves up there for the men on Manus who are suffering intolerable hardship at the moment, and we’re here in solidarity.

“I was talking to a few of the guys (on Manus) last night and they’re all very hungry, but the main concern at the moment is the lack of medication.”

This was echoed by former WA Greens senator Scott Ludlam, also across the road from the protesters, who said circumstances on Manus were desperate.

The ex-parliamentarian said whether in parliament or not, the work carries on.

“There’s always something needing doing, and it’s good to be in a support role, to support these guys and make sure their voice carries,” Mr Ludlam said.

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