Meanwhile in Australia...
24.Sep.01 - On Saturday 22 September over 300 people from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide met at the infamous Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia. The rally was intended as a show of solidarity and support for the detainees of the centre. Some of the refugees in the centre have been in detention for over five years - with still no idea of when their application to stay in Australia will be processed.
It started out as a peaceful protest with cheers and waves being exchanged between the protesters and the detainees. With over 500 metres between the prelimary fence (where the protesters were instructed to stay) and the centre, it was difficult to make contact any other way.
Trouble started however, when a large All Terrain Vehicle and riot police assembled outide the centre and proceeded to use water cannons and tear gas on the detainees trapped inside. No one could believe at first that this was happening in front of them as there was no provacation from either side.
Protesters started to run toward the camp, entering the prohibited zone, calling for the truck to be removed. There was chaos, people were crying and screaming at the police to stop. Amongst the demonstrators a vote was decided that we would not move back behind the fence until the Assault Vehicle and riot police had gone.
After some time, the message came through that the truck would go if we went behind the fence for fifteen minutes. This was a lie - as people assembled behind the fence the truck recommenced its assault on the detainees - causing more anger and frustration amongst the protesters. This was a deliberate act of violence towards the detainees and a show of power to the demonstrators.
It comes as no surprise however that Phillip Ruddock (Minister for Immigration) has blamed the protesters for the incident. He has claimed that it was a planned action between the detainees and the protesters. This is totally untrue - and anyone who was there could verify that fact. All we knew was that the detainees were aware that we were coming, but joint actions were not planned.
According to sources in Sydney who have contacts inside the centre, it is understood that no one was injured, thankfully. But still the horror of witnessing these events stays with all who were there.
This protest was intended to show the detainees that there are people who do care about their plight, and to attempt to break down the government's circle of lies which seek to keep us all divided.
They are human beings who deserve the right to a life free from fear and abuse. They should be in the community and given appropriate support so they cam live normal life. They should not be further victimised because of the movement towards war and racism being staged by Bush, Howard, et.al.
It is a disgrace what happened at the World Trade Centre - but to attack any person or individual without proof is undemocratic,irresponsible and unjust.
To blame boat people and label them as illegal and terrorists does not solve anything. This sort of racist scapegoating is used by governments as a way of deferring from the fact that they have cut tens of thousands of jobs, slashed spending on education and health and sold off all most public assets.
OPEN THE BORDERS - CLOSE THE CAMPS - FREE THE REFUGEES