Hundreds march on Parliament House in support of asylum seekers
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Hundreds march on Parliament House in support of asylum seekers

Several hundred people converged on Parliament House on Saturday calling for asylum seekers held on Manus Island and Nauru to be brought to Australia.

The Canberra rally was one of several protests being held across the country, with a similar rally taking place in Sydney.

Jane Keogh at the Rally for asylum seekers at Parliament House.

Jane Keogh at the Rally for asylum seekers at Parliament House.Credit:Jay Cronan

The protesters started from the Mint Oval in Deakin before walking the two-kilometre route towards Parliament House, many chanting "more love, less fear, refugees are welcome here".

The event ended with several protesters, who had made cardboard boats, launching them into Lake Burley Griffin to symbolise the asylum seeker boats that attempt to get to Australia.

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Protesters in Canberra launching cardboard boats in Lake Burley Griffin calling for an end to offshore processing in Manus Island and Nauru.

Protesters in Canberra launching cardboard boats in Lake Burley Griffin calling for an end to offshore processing in Manus Island and Nauru.

Among the group at the rally were Adam Richards and his 13-year-old son Ned, who had both recently completed walking from Adelaide to Canberra to raise awareness for asylum seekers being held in off-shore processing.

The father and son averaged more than 30 kilometres every day, completing their 38-day journey on Friday.

"The idea [for the walk] originated last year when my son asked 'what could be done about the asylum seekers' and I replied with nothing, and the look that he gave me was sobering to say the least," Mr Richards said.

"I then threw my hat into the ring and decided to walk to Canberra and Ned said he was coming too."

Mr Richards, who also spoke at the rally, said throughout the walk the pair had been collecting signatures for a petition calling for the government to close the detention centres.

The petition will be presented to federal parliament when it resumes next week.

"You'd be amazed at the amount of people who are angry about this, and locking kids up like this child abuse," he said.

There were also speeches from former Labor MLA John Hargraves as well as Father Rod Bower from the Gosford Anglican Church.

Saturday's protest came as uncertainty still surrounds the future of the proposed resettlement deal of 1250 refugees with the United States, after President Donald Trump said on Twitter earlier this week he would "study this dumb deal".

Protest attendee Jane Keogh, who regularly speaks to asylum seekers held on Manus Island, said many on the island have lost hope of resettlement.

"They are suffering over there ... the government has spent many years trying to convince people that they're illegal. It's all a lie," she said.

"I'm here because every day I'm speaking to people who have been held there for four years and they have been deprived of their families and their loved ones and their freedom."

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.