>On Monday 20/9/2010 11 prisoners at the Immigrant Detention Centre at Villawood occupied the roof of the prison, with many more on hunger strike. One of the prisoners jumped off the roof committing suicide to protest their deportation. The others on the roof threatened to also jump by 5.00pm Tuesday unless their demands were met.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 21/9/2010) a group occupied the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIC) and locked themselves inside. This action was undertaken with the direct purpose that it could affect the outcome of the protest taken by detainees at Villawood who were saying they would be forced to jump from the roof if no-one from DIC would speak to them regarding their cases. By occupying and refusing to leave the DIC office we intended to apply some more force upon these faceless officials to actually respond to the desperation of those occupying the roof.
The action was also taken because it had become clear that the militancy of those incarcerated within these detention centers was far outstripping that of anyone outside. We hoped to raise the level of solidarity with those inside beyond passively pleading to some higher authority to be ‘more humane’.
After gaining entry and occupying, the group asserted they would not leave until things were sorted out on the roof at Villawood. All the while, we were in contact with those on the roof at Villawood, expressing our solidarity and finding out how they thought negotiations were going. By the time police rescue arrived to cut free those locked on at DIC it was becoming clear that there was a chance of a resolution out at Villawood that was at least satisfactory enough to make the detainees on the roof not jump off.
2 of the comrades inside DIC were arrested and held for a number of hours and charged with trespass. A number of people gathered outside the police station in solidarity where those arrested were being held, demanding their release. Due to further police provocation and harassment another comrade was arrested outside and charged with trespass. The 3 were released after 7 hours.
It is also worth pointing out there were 2 other equally significant actions undertaken in solidarity with those on the roof today. One involved a few hundred people heading out to Villawood so that they could be visible and heard by detainees in a strong and direct show of support. The other was the occupation of Newtown square by 30 or so people who hung banners and handed out flyers during peak hour.
In solidarity with all those incarcerated in prisons, detention centers or whatever name they are given we shout…
THE PASSION FOR FREEDOM IS STRONGER THAN PRISON