The defiant rooftop protest on the Green 1 compound of the Christmas Island detention centre has entered its third day.
This morning (Monday 28 May) Australian Federal Police officers threatened the protesters that they would be charged unless they came down, but refused to say what they could be charged with.
Asylum seekers in adjacent compounds who have managed to get food, water and blankets to the protesters have also been threatened that anyone who assists the protesters with food will be taken to the punishment compounds, White 1 or Red, which includes solitary confinement cells.
But asylum seekers have shrugged off the threats saying, “The police will have to take the whole compound to punishment.”
The two Iranians are very long term detainees. One of them, Ali (not his real name), was visited by refugee advocates, including, Pamela Curr (contact number below, for comment) in August 2016. In March this year letters of support offering housing and assistance, were sent to the Immigration Department in support of Ali being granted release with a bridging visa.
The protest has become a flashpoint for the whole of the detention centre because so many of the detainees are in a similar situation – long term detainees held in Christmas Island, cut off from communities and legal help. Many have injuries, including broken bones, from beatings they have suffered at the hands of the guards.
“They are protesting for all of us,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.
“We are calling for the immediate release of the detainees on Christmas Island. There is no excuse for long-term detention. The detention centres are factories of mental illness; and Christmas Island is the worst,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“We also want an undertaking from the Minister that there will be no victimisation of, or recriminations against, the protesters or anyone else involved in the protest.
For more information contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713;
Pamela Curr (who met “Ali” in 2016) : 0417 517 075