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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Clashes at Australia asylum protest
Protesters try to avoid police horses during a protest outside the Baxter Detention Facility in Port Augusta
Some protesters reportedly fell under police horses
Protesters against Australia's asylum policy have clashed with police near a remote detention centre in the South Australian outback.

Police on horseback forced the demonstrators to move their camp, which was set up about two kilometres (one mile) from Baxter centre, Port Augusta, another kilometre away.

Scuffles broke out as 500 protesters faced off against about 300 police, and some fell as police horses forced the demonstrators back, ABC news reported.

At a similar protest over Easter last year, demonstrators helped detainees escape from Woomera centre, also in South Australia.

Woomera, which has now been superseded by newly-built Baxter centre, was closed down on Thursday.

One of the organisers of this year's Easter weekend protest, Fleur Taylor of the group Refugee Action Collective, said the asylum seekers were being kept in unnecessarily restrictive conditions.

Despite regular outbreaks of unrest and violence at the detention camps, John Howard's government remains committed to its tough policies, which allow for the mandatory detention of all asylum seekers caught illegally entering the country.

Some of those taking part in Friday's protest had travelled thousands of kilometres.

Grant van Riessen, who came from Western Australia state, told the Associated Press: "No distance is too far."

Police said they were confident they would be able to handle the Easter protests.

"We have done a lot of planning and are confident we will be able to maintain the situation," Assistant Commissioner Graham Brown said.




SEE ALSO:
Australia shuts asylum camp
17 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Hunt is on after Woomera break
28 Jun 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Judge 'disturbed' by Woomera case
12 Aug 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Australia's tough asylum policy
24 Jan 02  |  Asia-Pacific


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