"When the AFP and TRG boarded the plane for Christmas Island at 4pm last Friday, the Christmas island protest had just begun. It was a totally peaceful action with groups of men walking the 15 kilometres through the jungle to the inhabited parts of the island." writes Pamela Curr, Co-ordinator of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne.
Over the next two days some went to the Mosque, some to the Construction Camp to visit family, some went swimming and some went to the airport to sit. No crime, no theft, absolutely peaceful.
On Sunday night most of the men returned to the camp pretty happy with their weekends work. Cheers went up and were heard on phone lines as the TV news filmed their banners calling for freedom.
A few hours later this changed completely. All Serco staff were called to the centre to provide a show of force, even the cooks and office staff. DIAC staff decided to enact a "snatch and grab' to take those thought to be leaders off to RED ONE isolation cells. After this everything changed.
The AFP and TRG then unleashed their secret weapons- bean bag rounds and tear gas, their use unheard of in this country against unarmed civilians. More was to come. Flash bangs and pyrotechnic and stronger tear gas were introduced on another night. By now the camp is on high alert and handed over to the AFP and TRG. As we enter another night, we wonder what weapons will be introduced tonight.
Of deeper concern is why all these weapons were brought on board on that Friday night when there was only a peaceful protest underway. Why did the police pack such an arsenal of weapons ?
What plan was underway that they thought that they could use these weapons ?
Beanbag rounds, flash bangs, pyrotechnics, rifles and machine guns capable of firing this stuff.- who had even heard of these much less know that our police had them stored away for a rainy day.
There are questions to be asked about the this use of violence which turned a peaceful protest into a running battle. When will it stop and will detainee deaths result from this brutal game?
NO ONE CAN BE PROUD OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre