Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rioters torch Australian immigration centre

Asylum-seekers set fire to the detention centre after authorities denied some of their requests for refuge [Reuters]

Dozens of asylum-seekers torched nine buildings at a Sydney detention centre.

Asylum seekers have torched nine buildings at a Sydney detention centre in a night of wild riots with a handful of protesters remaining on rooftops on Thursday as police worked to regain control. The riots kicked off late on Wednesday at the Villawood Detention Centre with an estimated 100 detainees involved at the height of the drama.
Protesters set an oxygen cylinder alight, which led to an explosion, and nine buildings, including a medical centre and dining hall, were gutted by fire. Firefighters brought the blaze under control early on Thursday and no one was injured.
Around 400 people are held at Villawood. Many of them are asylum seekers, but the facility also houses people who have overstayed their visas.
On Thursday, seven detainees remained on the roof of one of the complex's buildings, next to a large sign that read: "We need help. "Immigration department spokesman Sandi Logan said he could not confirm reports the men were protesting because their visa applications had been rejected.
“But any suggestion that they're not being informed of the progress of their claim is nonsense. ... I don't know the motivation,” Logan said. “But it's clearly not going to help, in terms of endearing their settlement in Australia.” Article posted here

Editor: This is Deja-vu for me. I arrived in the Villawood immigration centre on the evening of April 25 in 1966 as an immigrant to start a new life in Australia.

No comments: