Authorities conveniently spin the narrative of ‘feral’ protesters. The truth is that groups from all parts of society are active to expose human rights abuse

For the activists desperately trying to draw attention to what is happening on Manus, the Australian media has rediscovered a well-worn nickname: hooligans. It may be a slightly more tasteful pick than the often bandied about alternative “ferals”. They both arouse familiar images – mindless, attention-seeking youths who don’t believe in a progressive movement as much as they believe in causeless dissent; idealistic people with unachievable expectations of their reasoned superiors who are “just doing their job”, socio-political opportunists with a reckless disdain for authority.

Related: Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self-delusion

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