More than 100 people gathered on the lawns in front of Parliament House on Sunday to protest the Australian government's deportation of a Tamil asylum seeker family.
Thousands of people rallied in cities and towns across Australia, including the small rural community of Biloela in Queensland, calling on the government to intervene in the case of Priya, her husband Nadesalingam and their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa.
The family had been settled in Biloela for years until they were "carelessly ripped from their home where they've settled in the community, they've contributed to the community", John Dove, from the Refugee Action Campaign, told the Canberra crowd.
"They've done everything that this mob of parliamentarians said refugees and asylum seekers should do if they want to come to this country and make a life for themselves."
The family were detained in Melbourne for 18 months while their appeals were heard and landed in Darwin last week when they were held at a military base after winning a last-minute injunction against their deportation to Sri Lanka.
On Saturday they were flown to Christmas Island detention centre, which was reopened earlier this year. They are believed to be the only people in the centre.
Priya and Nadessalingam arrived in Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 fleeing due to persecution in their home country of Sri Lanka.
Kelli Hughes, a representative from the faith-based working group of the Refugee Action Campaign, said the family were loved and appreciated as contributing members of the community.
"Members of that small Queensland town of around 6000 people began in a small and caring way, they welcomed that Tamil couple and then their children into their community.
"Until that family was suddenly removed from their home by armed police and border force at 5am one morning 18 months ago," she said.
"And their friends in Biloela did not take that lying down. They were shocked and they were outraged. This was not something they had over encountered nor expected, and they were not prepared to passively accept it."
Earlier, federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese pleaded for the government to show discretion in the case.
"Minister Dutton has got himself in a circumstance whereby, in order to show that he's harsh and tough, he's showing that he has no humanity. Australia is a better country than that," he said.
The Tamil family's plight has also sparked support from more unlikely corners, with radio shock jock Alan Jones among those speaking out in their favour.
Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is also reportedly backing the family's bid to remain in Australia.
"The people of Biloela seem to be pretty enthused about keeping this family there. I think we should also be listening to them," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
- with AAP