RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees calls on the Victorian Trade Hall Council (VTHC) to condemn the brutal police lockdown of 9 public housing towers in Flemington, and North Melbourne.
While VTHC has launched a fundraiser for those living in lockdown, this is not enough to show support and solidarity for working class people of colour living in these towers.
Our people shoulder the disproportionate burden of the COVID-19 crisis. We work in frontline jobs that keep Victoria going during the crisis but this also means that we are more exposed than others to the virus. We cannot take leave or ‘social distance’ because we will lose our jobs. Many of our people are being detained arbitrarily and indefinitely in Australia’s detention camps and hotels, living in constant fear of the virus spreading uncontrollably. And now, residents living in public housing where many of our members reside are being forced into a military-style lockdown.
African communities from the same flats have already exposed racial profiling and targeting of community members by Victoria police. People living in these towers have every reason to be afraid of the 500 police officers stationed across on every floor of every tower.
  • Why have police been sent in to enforce a lockdown of a community with a long history of torture, trauma and detention?
  • Why wasn’t the State Government’s first response to provide medical assistance and disseminate health information to those living in these towers?
  • How can the State Government or police even guarantee that it is safe to keep 3000 people in police lockdown in crowded, substandard public housing?
  • How is the State Government going to provide for people who have medical conditions and cannot get access to their medication or doctors because they are locked down and afraid under police guard?
  • Can the State government guarantee that residents blocked from leaving the building to go to work will not lose their jobs?
  • Is the State government going to conduct similar military style operations if there are outbreaks of COVID-19 in other Public housing estates?
The answer to all these questions is not through a fundraiser.
Solidarity and support for working class people of colour comes from holding the police and government accountable for racism and violence – Not just raising money for food and beverages to cover up the Victorian Labor government’s racist behaviour.
We call on the VTHC to clearly denounce the police lockdown in Flemington and North Melbourne.
Nothing About Us Without Us.