Melbourne Cup chaos: Manus Island protesters scale crane
CHAOS is unfolding at the Melbourne Cup with a woman arrested beside a car blocking the train tracks and protesters scaling a crane to hang a banner over the racetrack.
Police detained the woman at Ascot Vale on the Flemington Racecourse line, beside a car painted with slogans protesting against the situation on Manus Island. A banner was also draped over the tracks.
Racegoers on suspended trains were seen getting out and walking along the tracks to Flemington in their finery, as Metro Train reported delays of up to an hour.
In a separate incident, two female demonstrators from Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance climbed a crane to hang an "SOS: Evacuate Manus" banner over the crowd watching the race that stops a nation.
WACA photos of the crane stunt, which began at 11.30am, on social media. Spokeswoman Gaye Demanuele said the women are professional climbers, and they plan to come down off the crane before the end of the day. "They are safe up there," she told news.com.au. They are pro climbers and very experienced, but the men on manus are not safe and in terrible danger and that's why activists have taken this measure."
One of the train track protesters, Sonia Arquette, told AAP: "We are really appalled at the situation on Manus Island and we think it's really inappropriate for people to be celebrating when there are individuals with no water and no security.
"We don't want to be doing this but we feel we have no choice when there are 600 people starving."
WACA is hoping to create a "Twitter storm" on Melbourne Cup Day to bring attention to the crisis faced by Manus refugees - and it appears to be succeeding.
The activist group posted selfies of the women high above the racetrack with the words: "The amazing women currently on top of a crane at #MelbourneCup @TurnbullMalcolm #EvacuateManus now!"
And the protest is gaining huge traction, with one Twitter user writing: "YASSSS MELBOURNE! YASSSS - BE CAREFUL BUT YASSSSSS."
Another added: "V smart protest w with the car too."
Others called the women on the crane "absolute legends", adding, "Go you good things!"
Victoria Police told news.com.au in a statement: "Police can confirm that a female has been arrested at the scene in relation to a car being driven on to the train tracks at Ascot Vale.
"The vehicle will be removed from the line and trains will resume shortly."
Metro Trains confirmed the vehicle has been removed and trains have resumed.
More to come