Woomera Detention Centre - Good Friday breakout 29 March 2002
Protesters arrive at the compound and shout messages of support to the imprisoned asylum seekers. A letter had been sent to the protesters the week before from over 180 of the detainees, the overwhelming majority, supporting the protest and the call to free those inside.
The surprise is overwhelming at being so close to the prisoners. Many people are in tears. There have been no interviews and cameras allowed inside the centres. The Red Cross and the United Nations have been denied access to the centre to examine the facilities.
The prisoners inside attempt to explain their situation through the bars. Their access to legal representation, already limited, has been cut off during the protest weekend. Many people see this as a way of punishing the detainees for the protests. The desperation and frustration of the protests is apparent to everybody there.
One of the prisoners has his chest covered in cuts. I can only assume that he has either cut himself on the razor wire trying to escape, or has cut himself in an attempt to show the world the frustration and desperation he feels. After escaping, at least one prisoner said that he would rather die than be returned to Woomera or to the country he has escaped from. At this point the reality of the horror of this place starts to become real to me, and to the other 1000 people there.
APS, the Federal police responsible for the security of Woomera suddenly leave, massively outnumbered. Protesters and prisoners hold hands
Prisoners and protesters reach out and hold hands through the bars and razor wire.
Click here to see more images of this massive protest in the Australian desert, shot by Pip Starr of Rockhopper Productions on Good Friday 2002