Protest ends at asylum seekers detention center in Australia

10:01, August 31, 2010      

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About 117 accused Indonesian people smugglers on Tuesday ended a rooftop protest at a Darwin immigration detention center in Northern Territory of Australia.

The Indonesian boat crew, who are facing people smuggling charges, set mattresses on fire and brandished poles on a roof at the center on Sunday.

The Immigration Department said late Monday night that they agreed to come down to negotiate, and on Tuesday morning, an Indonesian consulate said all of the men are being detained without charge.

Indonesia's Acting Consul in Darwin, Bambang Daranindra, said many of the men are desperate.

"They told me, some of them, 'It's better for me to be shot, or it's better for me to die instead of prolonging stay in detention'," Daranindra told Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.

Daranindra respects Australian law, but hopes the cases can be sped up, because many of the men are poor, uneducated fishermen who believe the leaders of smuggling rings tricked them.

"Some of them told by their partner in Indonesia please just come to Australia and maybe you will be detained for less than two month and then you can return to Indonesia safely."

The Australian Council for Civil Liberties said an independent authority should investigate the issues that sparked the incidents at the detention center.

State Queensland Council for Civil Liberties President Michael Cope said the riot appears to be the act of desperate men.

"We don't want to condone this sort of behavior but people don' t usually do this sort of thing without some underlying cause and it needs to be investigated," he said.

"If it is a legitimate complaint about delay in the process, then those need to be addressed.

"And if it is also being motivated by mandatory imprisonment, then once again it is another reason for the Government to review this policy."

Source: Xinhua


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