21 April 2011

Australian immigration centre buildings burnt down by rioting asylum seekers

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An Australian immigration detention centre in Sydney has had nine buildings burnt down by rioting asylum seekers. The government claims the reason for the riot is because the asylum seekers have had their claims for refugee status denied.

Australian immigration

An Australian immigration detention centre in Sydney has had nine buildings burnt down by rioting asylum seekers.

The Australian government's policy of mandatory detention saw a number of Australian immigration centres pushed to crisis point, with the Villawood detention centre in western Sydney erupting in scenes of violence as asylum seekers attacked security guards and firefighters with fire extinguishers, roof tiles and pieces of timber.

Riot police were called in to the detention centre in an effort to stem the protest after unarmed guards had been forced to retreat from a group of 100 detainees, which included Afghans, Kurds and Iraqis.

The rioting began after two men climbed onto the roof of the centre to protest, though this quickly spiralled out of control as mattresses were set on fire and buildings were vandalised.

 The authorities were still struggling to contain the situation after a night of rioting, even though the fires had been extinguished.

Speaking on the situation, Australian immigration minister Chris Brown warned that individuals who had taken part in the riot could face criminal charges.


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