The defiant rooftop protest on the Green 1 compound of the Christmas Island detention centre ended yesterday evening around 6.30pm (Christmas Island time, Tuesday 29 May) a few hours into the fifth day of protest.

The two Iranian asylum seekers came down from the roof and are now being held in the punishment compound, White 1.

Earlier yesterday scuffles had broken out in Green 2 as Serco Emergency Response Team guards increased their efforts to physically prevent stop asylum seekers in that compound getting water and other supplies, including medications, to the protesters.

Serco guards arrested one asylum seeker from Green 2 and took him to White 1. Other detainees in Green 2 had made it clear to the guards that they would keep supplying the roof-top protesters.

A few hours after the arrest in Green 2, the two Iranians came off the roof. One of the protesters, Ali (not his real name) told the Refugee Action Coalition, “ We did not want other guys being punished for our protest. They [the guards] harrassed them too many times. I did not want them to go punishment.”

The protest had brought more attention on the conditions on Christmas Island, the Devil’s Island of the Australia’s detention regime.

Ali has been in detention for six years. “My family is broken up. Christmas Island has made me a junky,” he said, “No-one is normal in here. Everyone has mental problem. Even the guards are not normal people.”

The second protester, Ghazi (not his real name), told the Refugee Action Coalition, “We are all very tired. I have been in detention over three years. There are no good doctors. They just play with us. For everything, they give us Panadol. There are no mental health doctors.

“When people are in jail, they are relaxed – they know, one year, two years…they get out. Here you don’t know….Next week? Next month?”

“There is no excuse for the long-term detention that is being inflicted on the guys in Christmas Island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “It is a form of extra-judicial punishment that is not reviewable by the courts. They are held in worse conditions than a prison and for no crime.

“Christmas Island is the crime. It should be closed, and the detainees released.”

For more information contact:  Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.