Asylum seekers launch hunger strike at Australian detention center


More than 200 asylum seekers held at a detention center in Australia have launched a hunger strike to protest against their living conditions, detainees and activists say.

The hunger strikers at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation are demanding improved conditions.

They have not eaten since Tuesday, Iraqi detainee Ali Yousuf said, adding that the protest aims to achieve their demands, which range from the provision of "proper chairs and tables to do paperwork" to the freedom to venture outdoors after midnight without a guard.

"I (have) never seen any detention center like this before," added the 30-year-old man, who fled Iraq after it was revealed that he worked for disgraced US military contractor Black water as an interpreter.

The Australian government and the private contractor SERCO, which staffs the facility, have not commented on the report yet.

The detainees expect to meet government officials on Thursday to try to find a solution to the issue.


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