Australian protests against the camps peaked around 2002. Protests there were not easy to organise; the government built the camps in the middle of the desert precisely in order to disrupt protests and keep them out of public view.
The Easter protest in 2002 was vigorous and large. A thousand people drove thousands of kilometres to camp on the desert stones for a week.
Anyway, in the years leading up to the 2002 protests, many of the refugees had gone on hunger strike. When that didn’t work, some of them began sewing their lips together.
This was both a way to reinforce the hunger strike, and a symbolic protest about how they were silenced. There is virtually no outside access to the camps, journalists included.
Then some of their kids started doing it too.
The Australian right declared that this demonstrated why these people shouldn’t be let into the country. The right wing media framed it as “violent terrorist illegals trying to blackmail Australia”.
That was (and is) the view of about half of the country. Including some of my family.