Australia immigration prison riot hits second day

The group continued demonstrating through the night in Darwin.

Sydney: More than 100 alleged people-smugglers from Indonesia launched a second day of protests at an Australian immigration prison on Monday, defying police negotiators and remaining on the roof, officials said.

The group of 117 boat crew continued demonstrating through the night at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in Darwin, where an immigration department spokesman said they earlier lit a fire and smashed property.

"I can confirm that the protest resumed at the NIDC involving Indonesian crewmen who are associated with alleged people smuggling activities," the spokesman said.

"A number of detainees have been on the roof at different times today," he added.

"Northern Territory police and the Australian Federal Police are continuing to negotiate with them in attempts to resolve this situation."

The men are protesting against their detention pending trial for people smuggling charges, but the spokesman stressed that such actions would make no difference to their fate.

"The department is disappointed with the protest actions," he said.

The 450-person centre is home to 151 Indonesians accused of people smuggling activities, with the remainder asylum seekers or people who have overstayed their visa.

"It`s not appropriate for us to be detaining and housing asylum seekers in the same areas as people who are charged for criminal offences, such as people smuggling," said Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

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

Australia has a policy of mandatory detention for boatpeople and generally processes asylum seekers at Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

But increased numbers of arrivals -- more than 4,000 people so far this year -- have recently forced the reopening of centres on the mainland.

Bureau Report

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link