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Issue #1660      October 15, 2014

Nauru protests continue

On October 9, protests on Nauru have dramatically escalated. Up to 600 people broke out of the family detention compound OPC 3 just after midnight.

There was fighting between asylum seekers and security guards and it is believed that a number of asylum seekers have been arrested by Nauruan police.

The escalated protests followed an Australian immigration officer again telling the asylum seekers, “You can’t go to Australia, you must go to Cambodia.”

Protests have also escalated in OPC 2 – the single men’s detention camp. Up to 200 people were involved in the protest. The hunger strike, suspended for two days pending discussions with immigration officers, has started again.

“Day to day, night to night, the situation on Nauru is getting more serious for us,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.

There was also another self-harm incident involving ingesting washing powder, while another man, who attempted suicide by hanging, remains in a serious condition.

The asylum seekers have also been enraged by recent Immigration Department promises to improve the conditions, such as food and water, in the family camp. “They think they can deceive us,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition, “It is hypocrisy to say they are improving services while denying our future.”

On October 4, around 90 asylum seekers, mostly Burmese, Bangladeshi and Iranian, went on a hunger strike. Hundreds are maintaining a 24 hour protest and vigil at the gates of OPC 2.

On October 5, around 60 of those found to be refugees held another demonstration in front of the Save the Children offices. The refugees have rejected Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s claims that Save the Children workers have been involved in coaching asylum seekers to make false complaints or encourage self-harm.

“The government accuses everyone, to try and save themselves,” RAC was told.

Meanwhile, the unaccompanied minors released from the family detention camp after protests and self-harm incidents inside the camp, have been warned by the Immigration Department not to become involved in any protests outside the detention camp.

Next article – Government still pursuing Medicare co-payment

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