Protests by angry asylum seekers escalated at an Australian detention centre with rioters setting fire to buildings and police responding with tear gas and bean-bag bullets, officials said Friday.
A group of around 250-300 detainees on Christmas Island ran amok, hurling bricks and lighting fires late Thursday, forcing the Australian Federal Police to intervene, the Department of Immigration said.
The latest violence followed days of unrest at the centre, which houses some 1,800 boat people awaiting the lengthy processing of their applications to stay in the country.
"Last night buildings were damaged, fires were lit and there were violent approaches to the Australian Federal Police," said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen. More...