Bendigo residents 'light the dark' to remember asylum seeker

Bendigo residents will light candles in Rosalind Park on Sunday night to honour Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.

Mr Berati died during riots at the detention centre on Manus Island on Monday night which left 76 other asylum seekers injured. 

The vigil will be one of many ‘Light the Dark’ ceremonies being held throughout the country, with the concept originating from protest group GetUp!.

The Bendigo vigil is being organised by local student and resident Tash Joyce, 39, who only made the decision to arrange it at 2am Friday.

“I’ve been watching what’s been happening with refugees and it’s getting worse and worse,” Ms Joyce said.

“It’s about people taking time to think about what happened at Manus Island and having a group showing of support.”

GetUp! communications director Matt Levinson said he knew of at least 465 vigils being held around the country.

He the idea was first promoted on Thursday night and the group had since received a “massive” response.

“One man has lost his life this week under our care in a detention centre,” Mr Levinson said.

“A lot of people are just saying enough is enough.”

He said GetUp! was calling for an independent inquiry into the incident and for journalists to be allowed access to detention centres.

Ms Joyce said she wasn’t sure how many people would attend the Bendigo vigil but that interest in the event was growing.

She said people should meet at the entrance of Rosalind Park, near the fountain, and come equipped with their own candles.

She said she hoped to send the message to the government that the people of Bendigo care about refugees and asylum seekers.

“It’s not about political sides … it’s about the community saying they care and know what’s happening,” she said.

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