Trump's refugee order triggers protests across Australia

World Saturday 04/February/2017 13:24 PM
By: Times News Service
Trump's refugee order triggers protests across Australia

Sydney: Thousands of protesters rallied across Australia on Saturday condemning US President Donald Trump's order temporarily barring refugees and nationals from seven countries and demanding an end to Australia's offshore detention of asylum seekers.
US ties with Australia became strained on Thursday after details about an acrimonious phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull emerged and Trump said a deal between the two nations on refugee resettlement was "dumb."
About 1,000 people gathered in Sydney to protest against Trump's executive order on immigration and to call on Australia to close its offshore processing centres on the tiny Pacific Island of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Similar protests were held in Canberra, Newcastle and Hobart, while hundreds attended an anti-Trump rally in Melbourne on Friday.
Under the "dumb deal", the United States would take up to 1,250 asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus. In return, Australia would take refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Trump has begrudgingly said he planned to stand by the deal, but a source told Reuters on Friday US immigration officials have postponed interviews with asylum seekers on Nauru.
In Sydney, protesters carried placards that said "Refugee torture, Australia's shame" and "No walls, no camps, no bans".
"Australia should not be trying to palm off people the government considers problems to the USA. We have the solution here," protester Beverley Fine, 62, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that the deal with the United States would go ahead, despite US immigration officials postponing interviews with asylum seekers.
Detainees and an official source said interview dates were pulled on Saturday, hours after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days and stopped visits by travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Several detainees on Nauru showed Reuters the cancelled interview dates in their online applications, while a source said the second-round interviews had been postponed while officials tried to work out what was meant by the "extreme vetting" announced by the White House.
The White House has yet to determine and make public what an extreme vetting process would entail, but detainees and their advocates are concerned it would effectively rule out all the eligible detainees.