4 Mar 2015

Nauru protestors face jail for assembly

3:14 pm on 4 March 2015

Nauru police have placed draconian limits on protesting by refugees on the island.

Refugees protesting in Nauru

Refugees protesting in Nauru Photo: AFP

A notice distributed on Tuesday says groups of three or more which do not disperse within 15 minutes could be arrested and face charges carrying penalties of up to three years in jail.

This move comes in response to protests by the refugees over the conditions they face on the island after being released from the Australian run asylum seeker detention camps.

The Refugee Action Coalition says there have been a series of arrests, of at least eigth refugees.

Its spokesperson, Ian Rintoul, says the arrests are a clear attempt to pre-empt a further protest planned for later today.

He says while the Nauru government accuses the refugees of violence, there have been no arrests made by the police for allegedly throwing stones or any other form of damage.

Mr Rintoul says police have failed to respond to complaints by refugees against violent police and locals.

He says this police inaction and the government's attempt to stifle refugee protests have only encouraged a minority on Nauru to believe they can threaten refugees with impunity.

Phone calls to the Nauru police chief go unanswered.