Two female protesters scaled the 162 metre-high Melbourne Art Centre spire on Friday 19 February. According to local media the women scaled the spire at 3.30am local time, unfurling a banner reading 'Let them stay'. The protest was against Australia's High Court decision rejecting a legal test case, that challenged its right to deport 267 refugee children and their families who had been brought from Nauru, about 1,800 miles north-east of Australia, for medical treatment.

Police senior sergeant, Dean Delle-Vergini said: "Search and rescue guys are here on scene, they've assessed the liability of going up the tower – that would be our last resort. We're trying to get the climbers to come down of their own free will."

The number of asylum seekers trying to reach Australia is small in comparison with those arriving in Europe, but under its tough immigration policies, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent for processing to camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.