Djokovic moved to an infamous Victorian hotel
Denied a visa to enter Australia and awaiting possible deportation, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has been moved to an infamous Melbourne hotel.
Television footage showed the world number one arriving at the Park Hotel in Carlton on Thursday morning after his visa was refused for insufficient evidence, ahead of the Australian Open.
In the afternoon, supporters draped in Serbian flags danced outside the Swanston St Hotel as a large media congregation looked on.
The hotel has a checkered history.
For more than a year, the facility housed inmates flown to Australia from Manus Island and Nauru for urgent medical treatment under now-defunct medical evacuation laws.
The detainees had previously been held at the Mantra Hotel in Preston.
More than 50 people were released on bridging visas in January last year, but more than a dozen remained behind.
There was an outbreak of COVID-19 at the hotel in October, with at least 22 of 46 refugees and asylum seekers testing positive.
Two weeks ago, two fires broke out on the third and fourth floors. One person was taken to hospital after inhaling smoke and police say a staff member was assaulted.
Refugee advocates estimate that around 32 men are being held there.
Protesters scaled the front of the hotel around 2 p.m. Thursday, holding banners and signs calling for the release of refugees.
“These people have been held by Australia as maritime arrivals seeking asylum,” lawyer Jane Salmon said in a statement.
“They were detained for nine years. Perhaps the empathy of a man of Novak’s profile will help them achieve freedom.
Before being turned into a makeshift detention center, the Park Hotel was used as a quarantine hotel in 2020.
Ninety per cent of Victoria’s second wave cases – which resulted in 18,000 infections, 800 deaths and a lockdown that lasted 112 days – were linked to an outbreak at the hotel, the inquest said. state hotel quarantine.
It was then known as the Rydges on Swanston but has since been renamed.
Australian Border Force has been contacted for comment.