‘They were spitting, they were snarling’: Manus Island protesters target Tony Abbott’s sister at Liberal fundraiser in Eveleigh
Police escorted Christine Foster past protesters picketing the Liberal fundraising event. Photo: AAP/Brendan EspositoThe sister of former prime minister Tony Abbott said protesters “shredded” her outfit and tried to punch her in “ugly” scenes outside a Liberal Party fundraising dinner in Sydney on Friday evening.
Christine Forster said she was pushed and shoved by Manus Island protesters as she and her partner, Virginia Edwards, tried to make their way to the event at the n Technology Park at Eveleigh, near Redfern.
“Essentially people surrounded us, they were spitting, they were snarling,” Ms Forster said.
“It was extraordinary, it was a riot with people screaming in our faces, trying to spit at us, trying to punch us.”
Ms Forster said police on the scene helped escort them into the venue, but as protesters saw this, they grabbed her jacket to hold her back.
“I had about about three or four people grabbing onto me to try and stop me from getting in and in the course of that my jacket got shredded,” she said.
She said she respected everybody’s right to protest but that this was an “ugly, ugly scene.”
“That is not what political protest is about in ,” Ms Foster said.
The protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney picketed the event to call for the federal government to evacuate asylum seekers on Manus Island.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is also attending the event.
Spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney, Ian Rintoul, said the group effectively blocked one of the main entrances to the event.
“There was a huge crowd that blocked one of the main entrances, people blocking some of the other entrances,” Mr Rintoul said.
He said he “didn’t see any mistreatment of Christine Forster” but that he knew Ms Forster had needed police to escort her into the event.
“I think it’s nothing compared to the government’s response on Manus Island,” Mr Rintoul said.
“I think it’s been a very good night, no question Tony Abbott or Peter Dutton could have misunderstood the very loud cries that were coming from outside their fundraising event.”
Ms Forster arrived at about 6.25pm. She said Mr Abbott arrived before her, and Peter Dutton arrived shortly afterwards, though she was not sure whether he was confronted by protesters or came through a different entrance.
Mr Rintoul said he did not see Mr Abbott or Mr Dutton arrive.
A NSW police spokeswoman confirmed on Friday evening that three people had been arrested.
Nine News reported about 200 people had arrived to join the protest.
By about 8.30pm on Friday protesters had left the n Technology Park.