Qld police warn against bridge protest

Queensland Police want protesters to abandon a sit-in for asylum seekers detained in Brisbane.
Queensland Police want protesters to abandon a sit-in for asylum seekers detained in Brisbane.

Refugee advocates are staging a sit-in on a Brisbane bridge despite warnings from authorities fearful the protest could lead to a coronavirus outbreak.

The Refugee Action Collective plans to hold a rally on Saturday in the city centre to protest against the continued detention of asylum seekers at a hotel.

About 120 men remain in the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel after being flown from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia for medical treatment.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk warned police were considering all options - including a court order - to prevent the protest from occurring.

"There are other ways people can express their concern," Ms Palasczcuk told reporters on Thursday.

She encouraged protesters to raise the matter with federal parliament, saying the men's ongoing detention was a Commonwealth issue.

Nearly a thousand people have flagged their intention on Facebook to attend the sit-in, with a further 2000 people interested.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he valued the right of people to protest lawfully but a pandemic was not the time for such a large gathering.

"From a purely public health perspective this is not supported," he said.

Mr Gollschewski said police had tried to contact protest organisers.

However, unlike with the organisers of Brisbane's "largely peaceful" Black Lives Matter's protests in June, they had been unable to build a good rapport, he said.

Blocking road access on the bridge was unlawful and anyone who tried to hold up traffic would be arrested, he added.

Australian Associated Press