Australian Border Force cancel city patrols

2015-08-29 13:09
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (Mark Graham, AFP)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (Mark Graham, AFP)

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Sydney - Australia's new paramilitary style Border Force cancelled a planned operation to patrol the city streets of Melbourne checking visas, after hundreds of people protested on Friday.

The Border Force announced its armed black uniformed officers would for the first time join police and transport security officers this weekend as part of a crackdown on violence and anti-social behaviour in Melbourne's nightspots called Operation Fortitude.

But just hours after the announcement, around 300 protesters blocked Melbourne's main street, prompting police to cancel a scheduled press conference and call off the operation.

"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 said in a statement.

The Border Force was formed last month by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, combining the functions of customs and immigration bodies to stop illegal migrants.

With Australian citizens not having to carry identity cards, questions were raised of how foreigners would be identified to check visas.

A person called Ben Almunia Clark wrote on the police Facebook site: "Fantastic news for all non-White Melburnians who now will not need to carry their papers around like it's Nazi Germany."

Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm told the broadcaster ABC the cancellation was "good news", saying "we do not need any more uniformed goons".

"Either the Border Force are doing racial profiling, in which case they should stop it, or they are hassling everyone, and they should stop that as well," he said. 

Read more on:    australia

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