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article imageAsylum seekers protesting long period of detention riot in Sydney

By Leo Reyes     Apr 21, 2011 in Politics
Some of the more than 100 asylum seekers detained at the Sydney detention center in Australia have reportedly been injured as firefighters tried to extinguish fire on at least nine buildings earlier torched by detainees who were denied visa to Australia.
The riot took place at the Villawood Detention Center in Western Sydney. Angry asylum seekers threw roof tiles and furniture to firefighters as riot policemen were called at the scene of the fire.
The fires have been contained but immigration authorities reported several people were still on building rooftops sitting beside a large white sign that read "We need help".
AFP/Yahoo News reports, "Immigration spokesman Sandi Logan condemned the "appalling" behaviour of rioters.'
"At one stage many of the protesters were hurling roof tiles and pieces of furniture, and other clumps of wood at the firefighters," he said, adding that "miraculously" no injuries had been reported.
"The rooftop protest started with just two inmates, apparently upset at the immigration department denying their visa applications", the report added.
Asylum seekers detained at the Sydney Detention Center were spill over from overcrowded immigration detention centers Australia's Christmas Island, a small island off the northeastern coast of Australia.
At one point Christmas Island had more than 6,000 asylum seekers mostly from war-torn Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Riots were also common in the island detention center.
"Brami Jegan, from the Refugee Action Coalition, told ABC radio she believed the Villawood disturbances were prompted by stress and frustration", according to the report.
"What's happened is an absolute act of desperation. It's a cry out for help," Jegan said, adding that some people had been in the centre for nearly two years.
"It's so obvious the profound psychological effects that mandatory and prolonged detention is having on these people, these human beings," she said.
Some asylum seekers particularly at the Christmas Island detention center who have been in the detention facility for almost two years are protesting against poor living conditions and overcrowding at the prison-like facility and the length of time it takes to process asylum applications.
More about Asylum seekers, Riot, Detention, Australia
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