Six boats intercepted over the weekend

MORE than 500 asylum seekers were intercepted in Australian waters between Saturday and Monday, while hundreds joined protests at Nauru.

During the weekend, six boats carrying a total of 525 asylum seekers were intercepted by Australian Border Protection and merchant ships.

The weekend also saw some 200 detainees at Nauru protest against off-shore processing arrangements, with the Department of Immigration reporting the peaceful protest ended early Monday morning.

It was one of the biggest weekends for arrivals in recent times, with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen telling ABC Radio the boats would keep coming.

He said the government's return to offshore processing would be "much, much more effective with (the) Malaysia agreement being implemented".

Mr Bowen also faced criticism from Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison, who said in two months since regional processing was reopened, more than 70 boats carrying more than 4600 people had arrived.

"Boat arrivals under Labor have reached 27,192 people, which is now over twice as many as arrived under the whole period of the Howard Government," Mr Morrison said.

The latest illegal arrivals came as 38 more refugees were transferred from Christmas Island to Nauru, with the seventh group arriving on the island early Monday.

That group, the department said, was the first transfer of Pakistani men to the island.



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