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Friday, March 18, 2011

Christmas Island Asylum Seekers Riot

Last night around 250 asylum seekers on Christmas Island went berserk. Two accommodation buildings were burnt to the ground and a dozen smaller fires were set around the centre. Federal police were flown in and had to resort to using tear gas and rubber bullets to take control. A mob of around 250 detainees set out looking for trouble after some people received a letter from Canberra yesterday afternoon. Although the contents of that letter is unknown we can guess what was in it - asylum denied - you are on your way home.

Australia's Human Rights Commission wants the government to stop mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers. It is also a policy The Greens embrace. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting. The Labor government refuse to contemplate his plan to reintroduce John Howard's policies that almost completely stopped the boats from coming.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has ordered an independent inquiry into the Christmas Island unrest and how it was handled. But he has warned of further protests by disgruntled detainees who miss out on refugee status.

Meanwhile to accommodate the growing number of asylum seekers arriving by boat, yet another detention centre is almost ready to open on the mainland - a disused army camp at Northam, 100kms north east of Perth. It will have a 1500 bed capacity.

And the boats keep coming.