29.Jun.02 - Refugee Advocates have once again freed asylum seekers from the Woomera
Detention Camp where over 140 Asylum Seekers have been on a
hunger Strike for three days. Many of them had sewn their lips together in
protest at their treatment by the Australian Government.
Around midnight on Friday 28th June 2002, a group of 25 refugee
supporters went in to the main compound area of the highly controversial
Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia, to show their support for the
hunger-striking asylum seekers inside by performing a 'noise' action. Once it
was known that people were outside supporting them, children came out to the
fence first, followed by men then women. The pain and suffering was clearly
evident on their faces and being moved by the plight of these people, the
refugee supporters proceeded to try and free as many of these suffering people
as possible. It is estimated that between 20 -25 asylum seekers were freed
before detention centre staff could stop them. As of 0400am the information
received says that there have been no confirmed arrests of either asylum
seekers or their liberators although there are now police roadblocks set up
around the area.
from the Associated press
Radical asylum seeker supporters used a car to drag down fences at
Australia's most notorious detention center, allowing 34 people to escape, the
government said Friday.
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said 15 asylum seekers were involved in a
carefully planned mass breakout just before midnight Thursday from the Woomera
detention center, a former missile testing base in central Australia. The other
19 took advantage of the confusion and fled into the desert.
"This is a deliberate, organized breakout by people who have been in contact
with detainees," Ruddock told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
Ruddock said members of an asylum seeker support group drove a car up to one of
the razor-wire topped fences of the camp where they pulled down part of the
fence and ferried the asylum seekers away.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio said it had received an e-mail from a group
calling itself Our Sacred Country, which claimed responsibility for the
They say they decided to "liberate" the asylum seekers only after seeing the
pain and suffering on their faces.
Ruddock said five of the detainees were recaptured by police, and another 10
had been spotted and were expected to be recaptured by police scouring the
About 160 of the 200 Woomera detainees there had been on a four-day hunger
Police have established roadblocks around the area and are using helicopters to
search for those still on the run.
The Immigration Department says most of those involved in the break-out have
had their applications for asylum rejected.
An Iranian detainee [identified only as Simon] inside the centre has confirmed
that many asylum seekers escaped.
Simon says 160 people have been on hunger strike. He says that, like him, they
"I am going to stay here a long time in the detention and continue my suffering
in detention," he said. "I don't know I am guilty, I don't know what's my
for more updates on the arrests so far and links to other news stories check out
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