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Brisbane bridge protest set to go-ahead

Refugee advocates will defy authorities pleas not to gather in large groups and hold a weekend protest on Brisbane’s Story Bridge.

The community group’s says its demands for the release of about 120 detained men in the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel have not been met.

“Unless the (immigration) minister says he supports their release on Saturday we will be meeting,” Refugee Solidarity Brisbane spokeswoman Dane Deleon told reporters on Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged organisers not to go ahead with the rally, fearing an outbreak of coronavirus.

“There is a big community risk if people gather in large numbers,” she said on Monday.

But Ms Deleon quoted Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, saying there is “no community transmission in Queensland”.

“Football is still on. A lot of mass gatherings are still on. So we are still allowed to gather,” she said.

Earlier, the group met with Queensland Police Service and the Australian Border Force.

Ms Deleon said the meeting broke down after the group’s demands were not met.

The protest was previously planned for last Saturday, but organisers postponed the rally hours before it was set to begin.

The group’s leaders will go to court on Thursday when police attempt to ban this weekend’s gathering.

Asked if protesters will gather even if the court rules the gathering unlawful, Ms Deleon said there were hundreds of people who were willing to be arrested.

“It’s been seven years, what else can we do?” she said, referring to the length of time some of the men have been detained.

“I know everybody has concerns for safety and for the bridge … but you can go around the damn bridge.”

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