From Stuff World NZ

Asylum seekers burn buildings at Sydney detention centre

Negotiators had to take down a handful of protesters from the rooftops of Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre after a night of wild riots.At least three buildings were set alight in the protest which began about 10pm (local time) yesterday and involved up to 100 immigration detainees at the height of the drama.By daybreak, immigration spokesman Sandi Logan said firefighters had contained the fires and although three or four people remained on the roof, the situation was otherwise in hand.A dining room, a computer room and medical centre have all been destroyed."CLIENTS"

Mr Logan, who called the detainees "clients",  condemned the "appalling" behaviour of protesters who pelted firefighters with tiles, furniture and timber as they arrived to put out the fires."At one stage many of the protesters were flinging, were hurling roof tiles and pieces of furniture, and other clumps of wood at the firefighters," he told ABC Radio.It wasn't until the riot squad turned up that they were able to go in and tackle the blaze.Mr Logan said non-compliant behaviour from asylum seekers was nothing new."It is an ongoing challenge ... to ensure we maintain the mental and physical health of our detainees," he said."From time to time, frankly quite unacceptable, quite appalling non-compliant behaviours have occurred and this is an example of it overnight."The trouble started in the Fowler complex of the centre. Flames from the fire rose to more than 10 metres high.Superintendent Chris Jurgeit of Fire and Rescue NSW said up to 100 firefighters in 19 fire trucks battled the blaze.The protesters are believed to have been brought to Villawood from a Christmas Island detention centre. No criminal detainees at Villawood were involved in the protests.TILES THROWNNo one was injured although furniture and tiles were thrown and an oxygen tank exploded after 2am, resulting in a loud bang that woke nearby residents."There was just one big explosion," said Jason Ramsay who lives across the road from the centre. "It woke everyone in the street up, it was that loud."One detainee at the Hughes complex of the centre said when the fires spread to his building, the Serco security officers ‘‘ran away’’.‘‘There were no officers inside. The officers ran away. I had to try and save myself.’’The detainee, who asked not to be named, said at least 50 people had taken shelter in the Stage 1 Blaxland complex - the high-security area of the detention centre.‘‘Some of us are sleeping on the floor of the cafeteria. There is only one toilet here. Some people are sleeping outside but it’s very cold.’’The detainee said he was worried about his personal belongings left behind at the Hughes complex, saying: ‘‘I couldn’t imagine life without [the] facility.’’