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Refugee Protest: Ruddock adviser quits in disgust, 7 protestors taken to hospital

The Sydney Morning Herald reports this morning that one of the Howard Government's most senior advisers on immigration resigned in disgust yesterday at the Government's treatment of asylum seekers.

Neville Roach, appointed by the Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, to chair the Council for Multicultural Australia, said "compassion seem[ed] to have been thrown out the door". He said he found it "impossible" to continue to support the Government because of its policy, which was tearing at Australia's multicultural fabric. Mr Roach said the Government had given "comfort to the prejudiced side of human nature".

The paper and other news media also carry reports that seven hunger strikers were taken to hospital overnight, some of them unconscious. In a separate report the SMH quotes a letter from one of the protestors: "We have no hope, we see no future. We are ready to die ... We only request the Australian people help us, otherwise we have no choice but to continue the hunger strike until the end of our life." More than 200 detainees are continuing a hunger strike at the centre.

SMH - Adviser Quits
SMH - Detainee's letter

ABC News
The Australian