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Climb for justice

10 Mar 2016

Climb for justice Image

Two protestors scaled the 162-metre Arts Centre spire in Southbank last month in response to the recent High Court decision to send 267 asylum seekers to detention on Nauru.

Curious onlookers littered Southbank’s arts precinct throughout the morning, as the pair unfurled a banner stating #LETTHEMSTAY, having begun their climb at approximately 3.30am on Friday, February 19.

According to police, the two protestors – Katherine Woskett and Hannah Patchett - were experienced climbers who had carried out a similar stunt over the Eastern Freeway in the week prior.

The pair eventually came down shortly before 3.30pm after spending more than 11 hours hanging from the spire.

The protest was part of an ongoing nationwide campaign calling on the Federal Government to prevent the deportation of 267 asylum seekers, including 37 babies, to the offshore detention centre on Nauru.

A group of supporting protestors spent the morning on the Arts Centre lawn with placards and facemasks of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as “world leaders in cruelty”.

Speaking earlier in the morning, Snr Sgt Dean Velle Vergeni said, while they had successfully got their message across, police had held strong concerns for the women’s safety.

“I haven’t seen a protest for some time that has attracted this much attention and obviously this is a very public space, which is probably apart of their agenda and they’ve achieved that but we’re here to ensure their safety and also the safety of ourselves in our efforts to get them down,” he said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman later issued a statement that Arts Centre Melbourne would not be pressing trespassing charges against the pair.

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