Hundreds of illegal Muslim asylum seekers rioted Friday night and set ablaze a number of buildings at an Australian detention facility on Nauru where they were being held, following the government’s recent illegal alien invasion crackdown. Reports say most of the buildings of the facility including the accommodation blocks, medical centre, dining hall and offices were destroyed in the fires.
Hat Tips to all my Australian friends who alerted me to this story
Press TV On Friday, Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed an agreement with his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Peter O’Neill, to send all asylum-seekers arriving by boat to the poverty-stricken island nation. “From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugee,” said Rudd.
He added that anyone assessed to be a refugee would be permanently settled in Papua New Guinea and those whose applications are not successful would be sent back home or to third countries. After the announcement, the Coalition for Asylum Seekers called the measure shocking, and said Canberra has decided to shirk from its responsibilities assigned under the United Nations Refugees Convention.
Other rights groups including Amnesty International and the Refugee Rights Action Network have also criticized the deal. Australia struggles to curb a dramatic increase in the number of boats arriving in the country with refugees. More than 15,000 asylum-seekers have arrived so far this year. In 2012, the country received 16,000 asylum requests.
Al-Jazeera A boatload of 89 asylum-seekers has been intercepted off the coast of northern Australia, a day after the Australian government announced that boatpeople will no longer be resettled in the country. Tony Burke, the immigration minister, said on Saturday that the group – “entirely or almost entirely” Iranians – would be offered the choice of either pressing ahead with an asylum claim and being sent to Papua New Guinea, or transfer to another country.
Earlier, a protest at an Australian-run immigration detention camp in Nauru turned violent, with some of the asylum seekers injured, officials and witnesses said. Buildings were torched as hundreds of asylum-seekers escaped detention during riots at the refugee facility, witnesses said on Saturday. The riots on Friday night saw detainees take control of the immigration processing centre on the remote Pacific island of Nauru and arm themselves with knives and steel bars.
An immigration spokeswoman said that most of the major buildings including the accommodation blocks, medical centre, dining hall and offices had been destroyed during the protest, which involved about 150 detainees.
Nearly half of the facility’s 545 asylum-seekers escaped and a number of buildings were set alight, according to local photographer Clint Deidenang. “Today was history. The biggest riot ever to be staged on Nauru soil. The most violence I’ve seen. Amazing support from local(s) to the police,” Deidenang told AFP.
The asylum-seekers abandoned their four-hour protest after a huge group of locals descended on the centre armed with pipes and machetes to help authorities contain the violence in response to a government call for assistance, he added. “The ringleaders apprehended at the site will be questioned by police about allegations of property damage, destruction of property and riotous behaviour,” she said.
The Fairfax media mentioned reports that a police officer had been stabbed and was being held hostage, as well as multiple explosions and parts of the center being set on fire. Citing a spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, The Age reported up to 200 detainees were involved in the rioting and many had breached the fence and escaped from the facility.
Australia’s ABC reported that 14 other detention center guards had been injured. It cited one unnamed guard as saying refugees began rioting late Friday afternoon and within two hours had taken over the center, setting a number of buildings on fire. At one point they gained access to a kitchen and armed themselves with knives and steel bars. The center’s medical facility had been destroyed, he reportedly said. At least 15 guards have been injured, including a local police officer who was stabbed.
SMH Liberal (in US = Conservative) political opponent Tony Abbott is accusing the government of subcontracting the boat people problem to Papua New Guinea, saying the only solutions to Australia problems are “here in Australia”.