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Villawood rooftop protest ends

Date

Bianca Hall

POLICE and authorities have safely negotiated an end to the four-day rooftop protest at Villawood detention centre, the immigration department says.

A department spokeswoman said all three detainees were in good health and were being cared for at the centre.

Department officials, Serco – the company contracted to run the centre, and Australian Federal Police negotiators worked to bring the dangerous protest to an end, the department said on Twitter.

Federal police were called to the scene on Wednesday to monitor three people taking part in the protest, estimated to be at least 7 metres from the ground.

It is understood the trio are Fijian nationals, and their protest was sparked when a woman scheduled to be deported on Monday climbed on to the roof on Monday.

Her husband was also due to be deported on Tuesday, but he remained at the centre after the woman threatened to jump from the roof if he was removed.

Serco had placed crash mats on the ground below the roof, and had staff negotiating with the three to come down.

In 2010, 36-year-old Fijian national Josefa Rauluni leapt to his death from the same building complex after staging a rooftop protest.

In December, New South Wales Coroner Mary Jerram found neither detention centre operator Serco, nor the department, had fulfilled its obligations to Mr Rauluni, or Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed al-Akabi and Briton David Saunders, who both hanged themselves in the shower in 2010.

She recommended detention operators use trained police negotiators to assist in high-risk situations in detention centres.

For help or information, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline on 131 114, or visit beyondblue.org.au.

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