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Rioting Breaks Out at Remote Australian Detention Center

  • VOA News

FILE - Protesters hold placards at the 'Stand up for Refugees' rally held in central Sydney. Protesters set fires at an Australian-run detention center on Christmas Island following the death of an Iranian-born asylum seeker.

FILE - Protesters hold placards at the 'Stand up for Refugees' rally held in central Sydney. Protesters set fires at an Australian-run detention center on Christmas Island following the death of an Iranian-born asylum seeker.

Australian officials say protesters have set several fires at an Australian-run detention center on a remote island following the death of an Iranian-born asylum seeker.

The immigration department says it has withdrawn guards and other staffers from the facility on Christmas Island, located in the Indian Ocean south of the Indonesian island of Java.

The unrest began after the body of the Iranian detainee was discovered on the island's cliffs Saturday, one day after he escaped from the facility.

About 203 men are being held at the Christmas Island facility, many of them intercepted on rickety boats while fleeing from war-torn nations in the Middle East and Asia in hopes of reaching and being granted asylum in Australia. Several others are native New Zealanders with criminal records awaiting deportation after their visas to remain in Australia were revoked.

Australian opposition politicians are calling for a review of the conditions at the detention center.

"There is a crisis inside Australia's immigration detention centers and it is time for the government to start being upfront with the Australian people about what is going on and to ensure a proper independent investigation and review of the conditions and of the management of the facilities," said Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

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