Riot continues at asylum seekers detention center of Australia

13:56, August 30, 2010      

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Accused Indonesian people smugglers on Monday continued to protesting on the roof of the Darwin immigration detention center in Northern Territory (NT) of Australia.

The Department of Immigration said the protesters, who began rioting just after 4 a.m. (CST) on Sunday, caused more damage to the center during the night.

The protesters, Indonesian boat crew who face people-smuggling charges, set mattresses on fire and brandished poles on a roof at the center on Sunday.

"One hundred and seventeen Indonesian detainees continue to protest," a spokesman told Australian Associated Press on Monday.

"A number of clients remain on the roof. However, NT Police and Australian Federal Police continue to negotiate with them in attempts to resolve the situation."

The federal police are yet to say if they will charge the protesters.

The department spokesman said the protest action would not influence the outcome of their men's cases.

The detention center at the Coonawarra Naval Base houses 487 detainees, including 151 alleged Indonesian people smugglers.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said vulnerable asylum seekers would be suffering from being kept at the same facility as alleged people smugglers.

"It's not appropriate for us to be detaining and housing asylum seekers in the same areas as people who are charged for criminal offenses, such as people smuggling," Senator Hanson-Young told Australian Associated Press.

"While all of this (rioting) is going on, of course it's having an impact on the rest of the detainees who have fled torture and trauma and persecution."

Senator Hanson-Young also said she believed the detained crewmen were not really people smugglers, but also poor fishermen who had been conned into making the journey.

Source: Xinhua


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