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Protesters calling for end of ‘racial panic’ and lifting of China travel ban set to disrupt the CBD

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Another protest is set to disrupt Melbourne’s CBD tonight, but this time it’s not about climate change.

Protesters will rally outside the Department of Immigration in Lonsdale Street at 4.30pm this afternoon.

They’re protesting against the China travel ban implemented by the Australian government in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

William Wong, from Stand Together Against Racism, the group that organised the rally, said Australia’s policies around the disease are discriminatory.

“We’re protesting against closing the border, against the sending of people to Christmas Island and also about abuse and racist attacks towards Chinese communities and also Asian-looking persons,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“Morrison’s political stunt with the ban and Christmas Island is actually discriminatory towards the Chinese community.”

Mr Wong said protesters will be advocating for an increase in aid and provision of healthcare workers to help contain the disease, rather than geographic isolation.

“We do need some sort of response, however even the WHO says that countries should be kept open,” he said.

“A healthy response is providing more aid, is providing more necessities and is providing more health professionals, rather than closure of the border.”

The protesters have also taken aim at the use of the term ‘China virus’ by some media outlets.

“There has been racial panic generated by some media,” Mr Wong said.

“You sit on a bus or a train and people are just looking at you weirdly … as if only Chinese have got the virus.

“This sort of racial panic is not necessary.”

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