Australian visa crackdown plan cancelled after outrage
Australia’s border protection agency has sparked outrage with a snap announcement it would carry out visa checks on the streets of Melbourne.
Australian Border Force (ABF) said its officers would be checking for visa fraud as part of a general crime crackdown involving several agencies.
But the move sparked a social media outcry, with fears of harassment and racial profiling.
Victoria Police then said Operation Fortitude had been cancelled.
A scheduled press conference was also cancelled after about 300 people gathered in the heart of Melbourne to protest against the operation, The Age reported.
‘Be aware of your visa’
The initial statement from the ABF said a “diverse team of transport and enforcement agencies” would be operating in Melbourne on Friday and Saturday night.
“Officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” said regional commander Don Smith.
“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”
Word of the plan spread like wildfire on social media, and there were calls for a snap protest outside the Flinders Street train station.