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Baxter protesters reject accusations of violence

Baxter protesters reject spurious accusations of violence

Baxter protesters reject spurious accusations of violence
26 March 2005

Protesters at Baxter detention centre today rejected the claims of violence made by the police and South Australian premier.

“Our protest is symbolic and peaceful. The spurious accusations of violence made by the police and the South Australian premier Mike Rann are pathetic and predictable – like a broken record, we hear the same thing every time there is a serious protest,” said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition of NSW.

“We would love to pull down the fence at Baxter detention centre and free all the innocent people inside. We would love to set Peter Qasim free after 6 years in jail for no crime. However, as the fence is electrified with 9,000 volts we will not be able to do this.

“The real violence occurs at the hands of the Howard government’s immigration department. Keeping Cornelia Rau and other mentally ill people untreated and in 19th century conditions; jailing innocent people including women and children; snatching little children from schools; deporting people back to their torturers in places like Iran and Sudan.

“When Australians watch the coverage of the protester they will see peaceful protesters in colourful clothing and the police in riot gear wielding batons. It is graphically clear who are itching for some violence.

“The massive police operation is a huge waste of tax payer’s money and totally unnecessary. It is designed to intimidate protesters. They are flying a police helicopter about 20 metres above our heads to pick the dust up into our eyes. But we will not be intimidated and will continue to protest the crime which is mandatory detention.

“The protesters on the ground would like to know whether Premier Mike Rann and the South Australian Labor Party support keeping Peter Qasim in detention after six years? Do they support an institution that so badly abused Cornelia Rau? Do they think we should be silent on human rights abuses?”

The Baxter protest demands the following:

· John Howard visits Baxter detention centre and speaks directly to asylum seekers.
· End mandatory detention – amend the law.
· Close the detention centres – process asylum claims while people reside in the community.
· Abolish temporary protection visas – grant permanent protection.
· Stop all forced deportations.
· Let the boats land – Australia should accept and protect people seeking asylum as set out under international law.
· End racist scapegoating – stop portraying asylum seekers as undesirable and inhuman.

Contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 (Baxter)
or Max Phillips 0414 338 526 ( Sydney )

© Scoop Media

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