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WITH CANDLES IN HAND, AUSTRALIANS GATHER IN MEMORY OF DROWNED SYRIAN BOY

On Monday night in cities and towns around Australia, people gathered to lift a candle in the memory of drowned Syrian boyAylan Kurdi and to recognize the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Middle East and Europe. The events, held in most state and territory capitals also demanded that Australia’s politicians take action and offer sanctuary to those seeking asylum. “The image of a Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach this week brought the world to its knees.

His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old,” the #LightTheDark Facebook event read. Supported by organizations such as Amnesty International and GetUp!, the crowd was said to reach more than 10,000 in Sydney’s Hyde Park. While Prime Minister Tony Abbott had previously indicated the country would take more displaced Syrians but would not lift its overall refugee intake, there are signs he might shift his position, Fairfax Media reported Tuesday.

On Monday, the opposition leader Bill Shorten called for Australia to create 10,000 permanent refugee places to address the ongoing turmoil. While politicians debated, students, parents, religious leaders, and people across the country shared images and thoughts on social media under the hashtag #LightTheDark to show the world Australians are welcoming and willing to take action.

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