High school students hold detention centre vigil

Issue 

BY ROSA ELLEN, KATE LAHIFF & TERESA FOARD

MELBOURNE — Fifty people, including many high school students, held a vigil outside the Maribyrnong detention centre on October 28. The vigil was organised by Princes Hill Secondary College students and the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) in recognition of the hundreds of school-age people locked up in immigration detention centres.

The students initiated the vigil after RAC activist Daniel Moya visited the college to discuss the treatment and racist scapegoating of refugees by the Australian government, the Labor opposition and the media.

High school student Lindsay Rayner told the vigil that "while the Labor and Liberal parties bicker and point score over refugees, real people are grieving over loved ones after 350 refugees, mainly from Iraq, drowned on October 19 trying to reach Australia."

Sarah Cole, Rosa Ellen and Ruby-Ruth Lowe, also Princes Hill students, talked about the importance of solidarity with refugees and the importance of young people being active in the campaign to close detention centres in Australia.

Resistance activist James Crafti told those present about High School Students Acting To End War and Racism — HATEWAR — and the planned high school walkout on November 9. "Our government is prepared to bomb Afghanistan but not assist the refugees created by the US-led war on the Third World", he said.

Pamela Curr, Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne, spoke about the recent tightening of security at Maribyrnong detention centre. She said torches were being shined into detainees' faces at night, every hour on the hour, to ensure that they were still in their beds.

Tony Iltis from the Socialist Alliance explained how the demand to close the Maribyrnong detention and to free the refugees is a central plank of the Social Alliance campaign in the seat of Gellibrand.

From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.
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