While most of Australia cranks up the festive spending and looks forward to celebrating Christmas with family feasts in air-conditioned comfort, one section of the community is resorting to hunger strikes and rooftop protests in order that their plight be recognised.
Newcastle Greens and other concerned people will honour the plight of these people and all the other asylum seekers, including one hundred children still detained by the Australian government, in a vigil in Civic Park this Thursday 16 December from 4.30pm – 6.30 pm.
“Australians can no longer turn away from the harshness and cruelty of our treatment of asylum seekers,” said Anne McLaughlin, Newcastle Greens Spokesperson on Refugee Issues.
“The twenty or so people on hunger strike and rooftop protest at Baxter Detention Centre represent our failure to see asylum seekers as people like ourselves.
“Many of the protesters have been detained (imprisoned) for four years or more.
“Why? – Because they didn’t enter Australia correctly. They left their homes in Iran, a place we consider part of the Axis of Evil, in fear of their lives. They arrived here and asked for asylum, which has been so far denied. They have been imprisoned indefinitely in conditions regarded internationally as cruel and inhumane.
“And they are so desperate at being locked away and forgotten that they will get onto a hot rooftop in desert conditions in summer and go on a hunger strike to protest.”