Australian Christians arrested for prayer vigil against asylum abuse

By staff writers
21 Mar 2014

A group of Christians in Australia have been arrested after holding a prayer vigil in demonstration against the government's inhuman asylum seeker policy.

The vigil took place at the Sydney office of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

Those arrested were Justin Whelan, Jarrod Saul McKenna, Miriam Pepper, Donna Mulhearn.

A total of nine protesters were intending to highlight Australia’s cruel treatment of asylum seekers, which has been criticised by human rights activists the world over.

Such policies are completely contrary to the message of Jesus and the call of the Gospel for justice and a special concern for the most vulnerable, poor and marginalised, the protesters have declared.

Gabrielle de Vietri, from near Collingwood, said on Facebook: "Today, while praying for the 1338 children locked up in immigration detention centres at Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office, my friend Jarrod and eight other Christians were arrested. No-one had been arrested for the murder of Reza Berating."

Jade Contarino added: "On behalf of all of us who could not make it for geographical or personal reasons thank you for making our voices heard in your actions. Jarrod McKenna Jody Lightfoot Jaxon Jennings [and others]".

The protesters have been taken to Miranda police station. At this stage it is not clear what the final charges will be.

Yesterday, Ekklesia friend Jarrod McKenna had declared: "Tomorrow, I'll be engaging in a nonviolent direct action to highlight the reality that today 1,138 children, children just as precious to God as mine, are being held in prisons indefinitely for fleeing war my the Australian government.

"I ask for your prayers. Not merely for us (for humility, wisdom and a deep love to be felt by all we interact with), but for an end to mandatory detention and for a change towards rational compassion in our nation."

A 'Welcome the Stranger' event will now take place on Sunday 23 March 2014 at Kirkplace.

Australia today is known to have 2,865 children in indefinite detention -- a fact described by critics as "an absolute scandal".

* Interview on SBS with praying protester Matt Anslow: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/03/21/protesters-arrested-after-...

* More on 'Welcome the Stranger': http://kirkplace.org.au/welcome-the-stranger

[Ekk/3]

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