Thursday, April 21, 2011

Protesting asylum-seekers set fire to Australian detention centre - 21st Apr 2011

Asylum-seekers and other detainees at a detention centre in Villawood, in Sydney, Australia have set fire to a number buildings in a protest

Rioters at an Australian immigration detention centre have set fire to several buildings, climbed onto rooftops and hurled tiles at officials who were scrambling on Thursday to bring the chaotic protest to an end.

Up to 100 people being held at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre were involved in the riots, which began Wednesday night when two detainees climbed onto a roof, immigration officials said.

Protesters set an oxygen cylinder alight, which led to an explosion, and nine buildings including a medical centre and dining hall were gutted by fire. Firefighters brought the blaze under control early Thursday and no one was injured.

Around 400 people are held at Villawood. Many of them are asylum seekers, but the facility also houses people who have overstayed their visas.

On Thursday, seven detainees remained on the roof of one of the complex's buildings, next to a large sign that read: "We need help." Read More