Supporters of Novak Djokovic were seen gathered outside the Melbourne hotel he was detained in on January 6, after the player’s visa was cancelled on his arrival in Australia.
The world No 1 had been set to play in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. He posted on social media before departure that he was “heading Down Under with an exemption permission.”
However, the Australian Border Force said Djokovic failed to provide “appropriate evidence to meet entry requirements,” adding that “non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa canceled will be detained and removed from Australia.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reacted on Twitter, saying: “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules."
7NEWS Australia described the Park Hotel detaining Djokovic as being “infamous” due to a “chequered history” involving the detention of refugees, COVID-19 outbreaks, and two recent fires.
Refugee advocates said they hoped Djokovic’s profile would bring attention to the detention of 32 refugees at the facility, and lead to their release.
The activist group Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance livestreamed this video to Facebook from the scene.
“There’s a heap of media here today,” the person recording says. “Unfortunately there isn’t media like this every day around this hotel for the refugees.” Credit: Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance via Storyful