22 Jun 2018

US detention camps: Protest outside Wellington embassy

9:35 pm on 22 June 2018

About 150 protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Wellington this evening to condemn the country's immigrant detention camps.

A protester in Wellington

A protester in Wellington Photo: RNZ/ Charlie Dreaver

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep families together in detention during immigration proceedings, after receiving international backlash this week.

But no timelines have been set.

Trade Union lawyer Gayaal Iddamalgoda said it was not enough.

"One of the things we've protested is the separation, which has already been inflicted upon these children, but also because these children are detained and imprisoned as if they're criminals," he said.

There was also a protest at the US consulate in Auckland this evening, with another 150 people turning out for that.

Earlier in the week, acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the government was concerned with Trump's separation policy, but wouldn't condemn his actions.

Mr Iddamalgoda said he wasn't surprised, because New Zealand hadn't met its own promises around refugees on Manus Island and meeting our refugee quota.

Protesters in Wellington

Protesters in Wellington Photo: RNZ/ Charlie Dreaver

Mums For Refugees co-convenor, Sarah Jane Parton wanted to see more action.

"We've seen the Green Party condemn the action's of the United States, but we'd like to see the New Zealand government as a whole condemn the actions of the United states and keep a sharper eye on them," she said.

The Trump administration needs to know the world is watching, she said.

"We know what they're doing, we're not going to sit by without saying we've borne witness," she said.