Guards Retreat As Detainees Set Villawood Alight

The Australian (Sydney), April 21, 2011

SYDNEY’S Villawood Detention Centre last night erupted into violence with rioting detainees setting fire to the facility and forcing guards to retreat.

More than 30 firefighters were battling to control blazes in up to three of the centre’s buildings after detainees gathered furniture which they lit and then hurled.

The rioting followed a day-long protest by up to 11 detainees, some of whom refused to come down from the roof from where they threw tiles.

Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said guards “withdrew” from the compound that was on fire. “At least three buildings in stage three are on fire and one major fire has been set in the grounds of the stage three compound,” he said.

Another refugee advocate, Jamal Daoud, told The Australian that detainees inside one of the centre’s compounds had attacked guards by throwing objects at them before lighting the fire.

“The detainees are rioting inside the Villawood detention centre, the detainees attacked SERCO security with fire extinguishers and threw objects on them,” he said.

“The guards then ran away.”

A spokesman for the NSW Fire Brigade said it was not safe for the officers to enter the centre, forcing them to attempt to extinguish the flames from a cherry picker.

Mr Daoud, who was outside the centre last night, said the flames were very high.

He said detainees in the centre had told him that the fire began in the computer room of a compound known as stage three, which houses between 150 and 200 asylum-seekers.

Mr Daoud said the detainees who started the fire were frustrated by the lack of care the Department of Immigration and Citizenship showed to two men who were protesting on the roof of the centre for much of yesterday. In the evening, the rooftop protest swelled to up to 15 detainees and Mr Daoud said that by around 11.30pm the situation had escalated dramatically.

“There is total chaos inside the detention, with detainees from the rooftop throwing roof tiles on the ground,” he said.

Mr Daoud said around midnight the rioting detainees destroyed a fence between two separate compounds of the centre and started another fire. He said this fire, in an area known as stage two, had destroyed Villawood’s canteen and kitchen. “They (the detainees) told me the kitchen exploded because of the gas,” he said. “They are angry detainees . . . it is a riot.”

Mr Daoud, who is also spokesman for the Social Justice Network, said he had warned the department before the fires broke out that the rooftop protest had to be quelled, otherwise the situation would escalate.

“I warned them about this from yesterday morning. The department needed to send someone to negotiate, they ignored them and the people on the rooftop said they would not go down.”

Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said three areas of the compound on fire had been destroyed, including a billiards room and computer room. He said power had been cut off to the compound on fire and many detainees were upset and worried. “People in the compound are very distressed because they can’t get out,” he said.

Australia’s detention centres have recently been plagued by violent riots, suicides and self-harm attempts.

Last month, a violent riot erupted at Christmas Island’s high security detention centre following a mass breakout. In the past eight months, six people have died in detention.

Conditions at Villawood have been the focus of a wide-ranging investigation into Australian detention centres by the government’s workplace safety regulator, Comcare. Last week, the commonwealth watchdog issued the Immigration Department with a lengthy improvement notice about dangers for workers at Villawood as part of a crackdown on the seven immigration detention centres.

A senior Comcare investigator found that alleged ringleaders of the Christmas Island riot transferred to Villawood’s high-security area were placed under the control of a worker who had not been trained for the job.

Last night’s rioting came as the family of a Fijian man who leapt to his death from a rooftop at the detention centre in September pleaded with the state coroner to hold immigration authorities, Serco and the commonwealth to account for “systemic failures” within the detention network.

Josefa Rauluni, 36, threw himself off the roof of stage two of the Villawood centre after being denied a permanent visa and was scheduled to be sent back to his native Fiji. The father of another, active in the Fijian movement for democracy, had told the Immigration Department of his son’s intention to commit suicide, saying in a letter delivered just days before his death that if his deportation was to go ahead they should “send my dead body”. His death is the subject of a coronial inquiry to begin in June. However, his family wants more than just the circumstances of his death scrutinised.

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  • Seneca the Younger

    “The detainees are rioting inside the Villawood detention centre, the detainees attacked SERCO security with fire extinguishers and threw objects on them,”

    They are rioting for getting better treatment than they would in their own country. HA!

    They are really rioting because they weren’t given a house, unlimited free money and a blonde wife the second they got off the floating door they washed up on the beach with.

    Laugh if you want, but many believe that. They believe that blondes will have sex with anyone at any time, simply by commanding them to and that they will be making $100,000 a year by mopping floors on the weekends.

    If you don’t believe me, look at some black peoples’ reactions written in newspapers when Obama was elected, in the U.S. and Africa (especially Kenya). Kenyans thought that somehow since Obama was president they would all get automatic U.S. citizenship and a guaranteed job.

    I say barricade the “migrants” in the compound and let them stew in their blaze.

  • Jay

    Sounds to me like those men would make excellent additions to australian society! Imagine how they will enrich the communties they will plague, -er enliven!

  • d

    Villawood is the last place for people who are in the process of being deported from Australia, eg, ‘asylum seekers’ whose claims have been denied, people whose visas have run out and are in the country illegally, etc. The rioters were not ‘asylum seekers’. The riots were a last ditch attempt to blackmail the government into giving them a visa.

    Australians are furious about this situation and the fact that illegals are receiving better treatment than our old age pensioners, eg, pensioners pay $24 per visit for dental care, so called ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ are treated free. The idiot government has spent billions on illegal invaders when we’ve just had disastrous bushfires and floods and many Australians are still homeless.

    We’ll remember this when the next federal election comes around.

  • SKIP

    Only a mention of one Fijian!!! NO MENTION that all the other rioters are NO doubt muslims! In Vietnam once I witnessed a riot by blacks on a camp that was one of the few with wooden, two story barracks. The blacks were threatening to kill the Whites they had as hostages. I, and my patrol, were there picking up ammo and radio batteries and as I watched, the camp commander was nearby at which point I suggested he set the building on fire and kill all the blacks that ran out…Didn’t happen. Most all of the blacks had Mod Squad LINK type of Afro cuts too, HOW did the commander let things get that far out of control.

  • Anonymous

    Why would anyone be unhappy in Fiji its a island paradise! give me a break!

  • gary

    Aussie’s goose is cooked.Immigration has already reached critical mass.The whites did not have the guts to hold on to their paradise;therefore it’s all but gone.Ole’ Cathay wins in the end.

  • Anonymous

    And this behavior is supposed to make Australians LIKE the idea of letting these detainees into Australia?

  • sam

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem “Locksley Hall:” “Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.” A cycle is 1,000 yrs.

  • Comment from Oz

    Re the Fijian. He is almost certainly etnic Indian, they come here as overstayers on tourist or student visas.They do not want to go back to the squalor and poverty of Fiji.(Absolutely no welfare there either)

    Regards Fiji, most of it’s present troubles are due to the ethnic divisions in that nation where Indians now outnumber the native Fijians. Multiculturalism simply does not work.

    But back to Oz, this riot has caused millions of dollars in damage to publicly owned property, yet, the bleeding hearts are all out there showing the rioters plenty of support, its sickening.The acting PM did read out the “riot act” on TV and 22 are now in a high security prison but will the present socialist government really do anything to stop them arriving by the boat load???

    Yes the rioters are Muslims.

  • Anonymous

    Billiards and Computer rooms, Kitchens and Canteens…

    We can export happiness to raise up stupidity, if they will take it. But we cannot import misery and expect anything but this and worse.

    Whites should be taking in ONLY whites and ONLY from developed populations so that the ethnic hordes who are left in places like Africa and Central/South America can exist without any Western interference to complain of.

    Then, when they have returned to the 1800s if not the Neolithic in about 2 decades, we can offer them robots and a fixed standard of living. Also without whites to hold them down or hold their hands.

    I _guarantee you_ a Boer would be too proud to destroy what he had been given, for free, from another white man. And a Boer would furthermore bring critical skills that Australia is short of (programming to black politics, dry farming to defense industry), thanks to Australia’s decades of importing the under if not uneducateable.