Local vigils for refugees to "send a message to the world"

TWO Northern Rivers groups will tonight hold vigils in memory of a three-year-old boy who died seeking asylum in Turkey and to urge the government to do more.

Light the Dark Northern Rivers will hold a vigil at Budd Park, at Murwillumbah from 6pm, and Federal Loves Refugees will hold a vigil at the Church at Japser Corner from 7pm.

The vigils have been prompted by graphic images of Syrian child Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while escaping Syria and whose body was photographed washed up on a Turkish beach.

"The sad reality is that Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution," Federal Loves Refugees says on its Facebook page.

"In 2015, the world is facing a global refugee crisis, but Australia - the lucky country - is not doing enough. We can do better to help these people. We need to do better."

The vigils also follow an emotional Facebook post by NSW Premier Mike Baird, in which he says the image of Aylan's body "changes everything".

"I don't know how you felt when you saw the image of 3 year old Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless, face down in the sands of a Turkish beach. I felt sick with overwhelming sorrow. And despair. And anger," Mr Baird posted.

"I turned away, but that image will never leave me. That photo isn't just a story of one tragedy. It is the story of thousands of real people in a fight for life itself."

Sometimes you can know all the facts and statistics surrounding an unfolding tragedy, but it somehow remains an...

Posted by Mike Baird on Saturday, September 5, 2015


Light the Dark Northern Rivers said in a statement the vigil was intended to "send a message to the world that our government's inaction does not represent us, and that the people of the Tweed say welcome to asylum seekers".

"On Monday night, we will light a candle to remember Aylan Kurdi - the 3-year-old boy who presently represents this tragedy.

"We will stand together in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to leave their homes and seek protection.

"We'll shine a light in the darkness to express our heart-felt desire for a change of response from our federal government.

"It's time."