Refugee activists, part of the refugee convergence in Darwin have condemned the threats and intimidation of asylum seekers in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC).

According to reports from inside the detention centre, asylum seekers in the NIDC were warned not to take part in any protest inside the detention centre. The threats were meant to prevent any response from the asylum seeker to the protests that have taken place outside the detention centre.

Around 200 Serco guards were posted inside NIDC although there are only around 100 asylum seekers and Indonesian asylum boat crew and fisher-folk.

Asylum seekers were told that any indication of protest — ‘even if you jump up or wave your hands’ — that their files would be sent to the Federal Police. They were also told that planned moves out of the detention would be indefinitely stalled if they took part in any protest activity.

NIDC has developed a deserved reputation as the worst of the detention centres as far as self harm and attempted suicide.

“The threats against asylum seekers is a further violation of asylum seekers’ human rights. It is no crime to claim asylum in Australia. It is no crime to protest against the inhumanity of mandatory detention. Serco and the Immigration Department keep a ‘cone of silence’ atound the detention centres,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Despite the threats, asylum seekers did join in protest activity this (Sunday) afternoon, as protesters gathered on the Stuart Highway outside the detention centre.

The NIDC protest followed a successful action at the Wickham Point detention centre that saw 7 interstate protesters arrested for trespass after they scaled a hill overlooking the sprawling detention facility.

There are unconfirmed reports that some asylum seekers in the newly opened detention centre have staged a hunger strike in protest to the arrests of protesters and the cancellation of visits over the Easter weekend.

“Successful protests at all Darwin detention centres have made sure that the asylum seekers know there is a movement outside the fences that will continue to campaign to end mandatory detention and close the detention centres,” said Ian Rintoul.

Further protests will take place on Easter Monday at detention centres tomorrow in Darwin, Perth. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul on 0417 275 713.

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