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Footage emerges of Queensland police officer apparently punching protester at refugee rally

Graham Readfearn
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Darren England/AAP</span>
Photograph: Darren England/AAP

Queensland police are reviewing a video that appears to show an officer landing a single forceful punch to the head of a man during a protest outside a refugee detention facility in Brisbane.

The video, taken late on Sunday afternoon, shows the incident outside Kangaroo Point Central Hotel & Apartments, where more than 100 people seeking asylum are being held.

An older man in spectacles and a purple baseball cap is seen in the video grabbing at a security fence seconds before a person who appears to be a police officer approaches from behind and appears to punch him.

Amid chaotic and violent scenes, the man falls to the ground. The man in police uniform then grabs the stricken protestor and attempts to drag him away.

A Queensland police spokesman told Guardian Australia: “Police are aware of the video and the interaction is being reviewed.”

Dane de Leon, a spokeswoman for the community-based Refugee Solidarity Meanjin group that is co-ordinating protests and support for the refugees, said there were about 200 people attending the site on Sunday.

While there is an almost constant protest presence, she said people had on Sunday marched along the street to show solidarity for one inmate, the 37-year-old Somalian man Saif, who she said had attempted suicide early on Saturday morning.

Related: How an inner-city motel became a detention centre for more than 100 refugees

She said the man seen being punched was in his 50s and had attended protests there before. Blood could be seen coming from his ear after the incident, she said.

De Leon told Guardian Australia she had spoken with Saif on Monday morning and he had been transferred from the hotel to a seperate secure facility close to the Brisbane airport. Saif is in detention, but his three-year-old son and his wife, who is in hospital, are living in the community.

A social media account linked to the protests said the man was taken by ambulance to hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Queensland ambulance service said a paramedic crew attended an incident on Main Street in Kangaroo Point at 6.10pm on Sunday.

A male was taken to the Mater Hospital in a stable condition, the spokeswoman said. Guardian Australia could not confirm if this was the same man shown in the video.

The makeshift detention centre has become a focal point for protestors supporting the so-called KP120 who have been transferred there and to another Brisbane facility from Manus Island and Nauru for medical treatment.

Detainees, some of whom say they have been in detention for more than seven years, hang protest signs from balconies at the hotel, asking for justice and freedom.