nettime's_fency_activists on Sun, 31 Mar 2002 18:57:57 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> More on Woomera [moretti, dominguez]

   Fences come down - will borders be next?                                        
     ben moretti <>                                           

   Woomera Actions_Special Report                                                  
     "ricardo dominguez" <>                                            


Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 13:49:19 +1030
From: ben moretti <>
Subject: Fences come down - will borders be next?

[Excellent photos here - you can get an idea of how barren is the 
country people are held on.]

Fences come down - will borders be next?

A report from desert.indymedia on government reaction to actions.

Events at the Woomera2002 Festival of Freedoms moved quickly as 
protesters dismantled fences and made a dash for freedom. Police 
surround Woomera2002 campsite and institute movement checks.

At 6pm, detainees began protesting inside the Detention Centre. They 
were quickly joined by around 1,000 people who bypassed the police 
roadblock, walked almost a kilometre toward the back of the Detention 
Centre, and dismantled the outer perimeter fence to join with them.

Protesters behind the wire had asked that protesters outside join them 
in some chants, some of which included: 'ACM, immigration mafia' and 
'Freedom'. Protesters ran to meet those behind the inner fence with 
cheers, messages of support and chants for freedom. At the fence, 
detainees spoke with people on the other side of the fence, and some 
made a courageous attempt to climb the fence and join the 1,000-strong 
crowd on the other side.

A hole was cut into the inner razor-wire fence that separated 
protesters, amd several detainees escaped. Estimates vary, but two or 
three of the escapees were recaptured by the police and immediately 
taken back the Detention Centre.

Alleging that the Woomera2002 campsite are harbouring escapees, police 
have established a roadblock on the road leading out of the Woomera2002 
campsite, are doing identity checks on all people leaving the campsite, 
and have set up a cordon all around the campsite to ensure that no one 
gets in or out without being checked by police.

Conflicts have arisen between the Australian Protective Services (a 
Commonwealth security force) and the South Australian Police over who 
has the jurisdiction to make arrests of protesters at Woomera2002.

The South Australian Premier reached for that old favourite, the 
"rent-a-crowd" figure with which to lay the groundwork for police 
violently moving against the Woomera2002 campsite. Protesters have at 
each stage insisted that police not use violence against those on either 
side of the wire, but as yet there have been no assurances regarding 

Latebreaking news: Detainees inside Woomera refused to let ACM conduct a 
headcount in order to ascertain just how many and which detainees had 
made it out of the Detention Centre. ACM has responded with tear gas and 

Meanwhile, Australian icon Big Kev today issued a message of solidarity 
with Woomera2002 protesters.

Online chat on IRC available here, use channel #woomera.


Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 08:40:33 -0500
From: "ricardo dominguez" <>
Subject: Woomera Actions_Special Report 


THING.NEWS          Woomera Actions_Special Report

welcome to the virtual people smuggler :: destination woomera

the virtual people smuggler is a platform that enables
individuals to virtually participate in polical actions such
as protests. itīs intended for those who want to support
these events, but who cannot join them offline for
whatever reasons. by virtualy participating you make
it known that you support the struggles being waged
during the event. as a virtual participant you can explain
the reasons for your participation, you can comment on the
things that happen at the offline event and and you can
communicate with other virtual participants.

the first installment of the virtual people smuggler
will take you to woomera (australia), where - during the
easter weekend of 2002 - a protest festival will address a
number of issues that are highlighted in this remote
town in the desert of southern australia: internment of
sans papier, indigenous struggles for land rights, uranium
mining, missile testing, toxic waste dumping, and military

Woomera is located in the Australian Desert, 500 kms
north of the nearest city of Adelaide. It is the site of
Australiaīs largest onshore internment camp for sans
papier arrivals and undocumented migrants. It has also been
the site of the most determined campaign for freedom,
with mass escapes, strikes, hunger-strikes and ongoing
protests - including attempts to dismantle the camp - since
it was built. There are currently around 1,000 people interned
there, without charge, without trial, and for an indefinite

for more information on events that are planned in woomera
you can go to the festivalīs website.


<<<MORE >>>

from "undercurrents" thread on

thread: undercurrents date: 2002-03-30
from: time: 04:44:39
subject: Re: [undercurrents] woomera protests

I had sworn that I would not turn the computer on
this  weekend but after 24 hours of CNN and BBC
and developments at Woomera I felt the urge to
come and spread some news. I tried to ring
protesters  on their mobiles but theyīre in the
middle of the desert...the more together Melbourne
action groups have got some up to date postings

Here is an account of the last 24 hours when
1000 protesters broke down the perimeter fences....

Breaking the Cage, Detainees escape - Actions
continue at Woomera2002

Following a year of turmoil in Australian detention
centres, the have had
much success over the last 48 hours.

Last night at 5:45 pm a call by detainees was
made for joint action inside and out of the
Woomera detention centre. The protestors
outside the camp broke through at least two
fences to actually reach the refugees. At this point,
41 to 46 detainees escaped. Since then 37
(possibly 39) have been recaptured in the last 20 hours.

The full story from last night by a desert.indymedia
representative. Photos from the action are available here.

The Government concedes that at least 8 detainees
are still at large, though they are having trouble
determining numbers becasue those in the camp
will not allow the counting process to occur. Sixteen
protestors have been arrested for "habouring escapees",
a charge that carries up to five years in jail. They will be
appearing at the Port Augusta Magistrate court on
Tuesday. Bail has been refused by the top levels
of government.

Last night the protestorīs camp, about a kilometre
from the detention centre, was surrounded by police
and the Australian Protective Services (APS), and
no one was allowed to leave the camp without a
thorough ID check.

Today, protestors were trying to to take teddy bears
to the detainees, when they were confronted by APS,
but apparently were able to deliver their gifts.

Actions of Solidarity have happened in Scotland and Berlin

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs,
Phil Ruddock, recently issued statement that largely
laid the blame on bungling police and splits between
police on the Federal and State level and with APS.

There are still two more days of action. Analysis from
those on the ground and those watching the news
is strong and inspiring.



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