More touble at Christmas Island
Posted on Monday 21/3/2011
There has been a week of conflict on Christmas island with federal police on thursday night firing tear gas and synthetic bullets at a group of 250 asylum seekers who had burned down accommodation buildings.
The Federal Govenment sent an additional 70 police officers to the island taking the total to more than 190.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has defended the Australian Federal Police use of synthetic bullets.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has asked for an independent inquiry to examine the events but claims to understand the reaction of police
"I understand that police confronted with situations of difficulty do have to make judgment calls about how they will respond," she said
Ian Rintoul as spokesperson for Refugee Action Coalition says there was a cover up.
He claims there was no protest inside the detention centre on Sunday night until officials "decided they were going to have the snatch-and-grab raid to remove the ringleaders"
"The responsibility for what happended on Sunday night is with Serco (the company that runs the detention centre), the Federal Police and the Government'.
Mr Bowen has conceded Sunday nights violent protest was sparked by security officers rounding up and handcuffing 10 detianees alleged to be ringleaders of the break out
But he claims that most detainees do not condone the protests.
Mr Rintoul believes the problem at Christmas Island lies with the length of time it takes ASIO to carry out security assessments on people deemed genuine refugees.
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