5 Mar 2015

Second day of protests on Nauru leads to more mass arrests

6:43 am on 5 March 2015
Refugees protesting in Nauru

Refugees protesting in Nauru Photo: AFP

A second day of protests by refugees was ended last night with another round of mass arrests, taking the total number of refugees arrested this week to about 100.

About 50 protesters yesterday afternoon blockaded the main road near the civic centre chanting for the release of at least 40 refugees already arrested the day before.

A local photographer, Clint Deidenang, says that at about 6 o'clock local time, police negotiators convinced the protesters to voluntarily board four buses that took them to the police station.

"Well there was lots of chanting and traffic chaos and there were lots of locals on the opposite side of the road and tension was high and they managed to get the protesters to voluntarily get on the bus and take them down to the station."

Clint Deidenang says it's unclear whether any charges have been laid against any of the refugees.

The arrests come a day after the government introduced heavy-handed limits on public gatherings.

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.

The government says while the majority of the 500 refugees on the island do not wish to participate in these protests, a small group of troublemakers are attempting to incite others, again blaming Australian refugee advocates for inciting tension.

Video of protesters in jail

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