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Manus Island Refugee Protesters Climb Crane, Block Train Lines At Melbourne Cup

Refugee advocates cause chaos at cup.

07/11/2017 2:00 PM AEDT | Updated 07/11/2017 2:00 PM AEDT
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One of the protesters atop the crane above Flemington on Melbourne Cup day

sRefugee advocates have hijacked Melbourne Cup day, scaling a crane at Flemington and driving a car onto train tracks leading to the race course in high-profile protests over the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Two women, said to be "a qualified rope access technician and a qualified arborist", climbed a large crane at the race course and unfurled large banners reading 'EVACUATE MANUS NOW'.

In pictures shared with HuffPost Australia by the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance, the protesters are shown on the crane over the main concourse at Flemington.

"We are joining with others across Australia to demand that the government evacuate the men on Manus immediately and bring them to safety for processing," WACA spokesperson Charlotte Lynch said in a statement.

"This is an emergency. This is an humanitarian crisis. We refuse to sit by whilst the Government, with the complicity of the Labor Party, puts over 600 men's lives at risk."

Elsewhere, a car spraypainted with pro-refugee slogans was driven onto train tracks at Ascot Vale, blocking services headed toward Flemington. A 7 News reporter tweeted that police had arrested one man at the scene.

The car has been sprayed with slogans including 'EVACUATE MANUS'.

Melbourne Trains has advised customers of "Delays over 60 minutes due to a motor vehicle stopped across rail lines at the Ascot Vale level crossing".

In other parts of Melbourne, numerous banners have been erected reading 'Sanction Australia'.

The campaign, designed to coincide with Melbourne Cup day, includes a "Twitter storm to bring attention to the Crisis faced by Refugees in Manus".

"Refugee Survivors and ex-detainees call on our supporters to join a Twitter Storm by tweeting about the escalating crisis faced by Refugee detainees held hostage by the Australian government in Manus Island Papua New Guinea using the hashtag #MelbourneCup a corporate event that gets a lot of media attention in Australia," RISE wrote on Facebook.

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