Sydney: Four arrested as protesters clash with police outside Villawood detention centre

25 March 2017 – Protesters have camped outside Villawood detention centre overnight despite the arrest of four people yesterday.

The riot squad was called in at 3.30pm after an initial group of 30 protesters grew to around 70 and began blocking traffic on Birmingham Road.

Police said the group, who were gathered at the detention centre to protest the deportation of a 60-year-old Iraqi man identified only as Saeed, began to impede traffic in and out of the facility.

“This is kind the kind of horrible rise of racism we’re trying to fight here,” Josh Lees, a protester from the Refugee Action Coalition, said.

“We want to see a world of equality and justice not a world of division and hatred and racism.”

Protesters allegedly ignored several move-on directions from police and tried to break a police line, which was formed to allow traffic flow into the facility, just before 7.30pm.

Two men and two women were subsequently arrested.


 

The protesters allegedly tried to break the police line.

The two women, aged 25 and 29, were later released for breaching the peace.

An 18-year-old man, who was chased down a storm drain before being arrested, was charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest. He was granted bail and is expected to front court on April 12.

A 25-year-old man was issued with  a Field Court Attendance Notice for assaulting police.

A police officer suffered minor injuries during the protest.

A small group of demonstrators camped out overnight at the detention centre to continue the protest.

One protester said they were “physically” trying to stop the deportation of the man.

“We’re trying to physically prevent a deportation of man who, if he is deported, his life is at risk,” she said.

“We’re not protesting, we’re actually trying to stop our government from violating international law.”

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection today confirmed Saeed will be deported.

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