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article imageAsylum seekers riot in Australia's Christmas Island jail

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By Leo Reyes     Mar 20, 2011 in World
Long-staying asylum seekers in Australia's Christmas Island have attacked security forces and set fire to buildings and facilities of the detention center.
Some asylum seekers who have been in the detention facility for almost two years are protesting against poor living conditions at the prison-like facility and the length of time it takes to process asylum applications.
Most of the asylum seekers who are in the detention center are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Iraq.
Christmas Island is located in the northwestern coast of Australia's Northern Territory and is home to approximately 2,500 asylum seekers.
BBC News reports, "Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd condemned the riots as "completely unacceptable".
"How can you expect our officials to process applications for asylum when that sort of thing is happening?" he said in a televised statement, adding that there would be no relaxation of the rules.
The island detention center is manned by 118 security forces. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said another 70 police personnel will be dispatched to augment the police force in the detention facility. The police were firmly back in control, he added.
Last year, more than 6,500 asylum seekers arrived in Australia by dilapidated boats passing by the coastlines of Indonesia.
Christmas Island is located 1,600 miles northwest of Western Australian city of Perth and 220 miles south of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta
The 52 square mile island has a total population of 1,403 residents.
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