Growing public outrage cancels visa operation in Australia

Australian visa crackdown cancelled to ease rising public fear over racial profiling

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A controversial operation to prevent visa fraud in Melbourne was cancelled on Friday due to growing public outrage.

The joint operation, known as Operation Fortitude which was planned to launch on Friday night and Saturday to target visa fraud crashed the barriers of the common sense.

Social media-organised protests pushed the politicians to cancel Operation Fortitude due to Victorians' objection to the attempt, describing it as “unnecessary” and “heavy-handed.”

Minutes before the cancellation, a media conference outside Flinders Street train station which was scheduled to talk about the steps of the operation also called off due to nearly 200 demonstrators blocked the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne to protest the operation, holding up placards and chanting “border force off our streets.”

“Joseph Stalin would be proud of Tony Abbott. Just as East Germany’s Stasi would be delighted with the Australian Border Force,” the Independent Member for Denison said in a statement.

“Australia is now a police state,” he said, adding that the public should maintain its outrage with the government "for thinking such an activity would be acceptable in the first place."

Victoria police department said in a statement that “We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.”

“Victoria police’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of the whole community and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to achieve this.”

Human rights organisations in the country are concerned about that the the police would use racial profiling to justify stopping people which would lead a “militarisation” of the migration system.

A statement came from the Australian Border Force later to soothe the fear over the operation.

“The ABF does not and will not stop people at random in the streets and does not target on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity,” it said.   

It also claimed that it was just helping to Victoria police in the joint operation which is regularly organized by departmental immigration officers.

“Joint operations of this type are common and were previously conducted by departmental immigration officers.”




TRTWorld and agencies