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Asylum seekers torch Australian immigration centre

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Asylum seekers torch Australian immigration centre


Asylum seekers in Australia have burned down much of a detention centre in Sydney where they were being held.

Reports say the detainees turned violent after their requests for refuge were turned down. It began as a rooftop protest by a few asylum seekers before dozens more joined in.

The authorities say objects were hurled at firefighters to prevent them from reaching the burning buildings.

There have been complaints about conditions and the time it takes to process applications. Officials reject them.

“Throughout this process there are case managers all the way, working with the detainees so any suggestion they’re not being informed of the progress of their claims is nonsense. They are being, but we can’t say ‘yes’ to every claim that’s made,” said Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan.

By daybreak, the fires were out and officials said the situation was under control. There are no reports of injuries but it is one of the most serious cases of unrest among Australia’s asylum-seekers. Numbers have increased in recent years and the policy of detaining them has been criticised.

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