News National Christmas Island facility ‘under control’

Christmas Island facility ‘under control’

Christmas Island
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The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed unrest at the Christmas Island detention centre is now under control, saying five people were injured after interactions with police.

The department issued a statement this afternoon which stated all areas of the facility were “under the full and effective control of service providers and department staff”.

All detainees have been accounted for, but five detainees have suffered non-life threatening injuries.

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“People who think they can act outside of the law have another thing coming,” Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Tuesday afternoon.

“Investigations will now get under way in relation to the incident.

“We will deal with people appropriately … depending on evidence gathered by the police.”

No officers were injured in the riot.

Five detainees received minor lacerations and injuries as a result of “interactions with the police”, according to Mr Dutton.

He said tear gas was used by authorities to bring the unrest under control, but he did not confirm the use of rubber bullets.

The events which were described as “out of control”, were prompted by the death of Iranian Kurdish man Fazal Chegeni after he escaped from the centre on Saturday.

christmas island riot police
Riot police have been spotted entering the facility. Photo: ABC

The unrest at the immigration detention centre started on Sunday night and was sparked by the discovery of the body of Iranian Kurdish man Fazal Chegeni after he escaped from the centre on Saturday.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Dutton said a “core group of criminals” were barricaded in the centre and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers would help calm tensions.

Access to the centre had been blocked off by police with Australian Border Force staff onsite and their vehicles, including a fire truck, seen leaving the area.

Additional AFP officers were flown into Christmas Island along with extra Serco staff to try to bring the situation under control.

A medical flight also left the island, although it is not yet clear whether it was carrying a detainee who was injured in the riot.

The Department of Immigration said staff had been able to re-enter the facility and they had taken back control of the administration area and the medical clinic.

They say staff are also providing a food service and that the perimeter is still secure.

A detainee at the Christmas Island detention centre earlier said the facility had been in the hands of protesters, there were no guards inside the facility and fires had been lit in the education centre.

“There’s no officers on site, they haven’t come in and take control,” the detainee said.

“There’s no medication for people that need medication because apparently they broke into that too.

“I don’t know why the officers aren’t coming — I scared, you know. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I mean, I’m not involved. They’ve opened up all the gates in the compound so they can come in and out.”

The Department denies a large-scale riot took place and said reports buildings had been destroyed by large-scale fires were incorrect.

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