CHURCH and refugee support groups came together for a Palm Sunday “gathering of peace and justice” at Charing Cross.
About 50 people listened to speeches, while poems from people currently detained in Australian detention centre were read out to the group.
The event was held in conjunction with larger rallies in capital cities.
Ken Rookes, of the Rural Australians for Refugees, said the movement would never go away – and the imagery of Jesus riding in to Jerusalem on a donkey remained as important now as it did more than 2000 years ago.
“It was a political act, an act which directly challenges the leadership of his nation,” Mr Rookes said.
“Jesus saved his sharpest condemnation for the powerful men who ruled his nation, denouncing them as hypocrites for pretending to follow God and yet being indifferent in their attitudes towards the poor, the weak and the vulnerable.
“A week later… those same leaders would falsely accuse him, discredit him, and see him condemned to death.
“Two thousand years later nothing much has changed.”
Representatives from church groups attended the rally, and spoke about how their faith compelled them to try to “liberate all people from suffering”.
The world continues to face one of its worst refugee crises in history.
More than five million people have been displaced from Syria, 2.5 million from Afghanistan, 1.4 million from South Sudan, one million from Somalia and hundreds of thousands from Congo, Myanmar, Eritrea, Burundi and the Central African Republic.
The countries that host the most refugees are Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Chad and Sweden.
Also on View Street on Sunday, about 10 people waved Australian flags and displayed signs in support of white South African farmers.
Police figures show that in 2016/17, 74 people were murdered on South African farms. The figures were not broken down by race.
In the whole of South Africa, there were 19,016 murders in 2016/17.
Mr Rookes said the RAR and local church groups stood in solidarity with any groups suffering in the world.
“We would agree that any groups that are suffering are deserving of support,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that the government uses this as a way to wedge people.”
A person in a passing car also shouted “what about the white South African farmers?” at the Palm Sunday rally, before shouting an obscene homophobic slur at attendees.