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Disturbance at Curtin Detention Centre, WA.

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Disturbance at Curtin Detention Centre, WA DPS 23/2002

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) said today that a violent incident has occurred overnight at the Curtin detention centre, near Derby, involving about 100 of the 340 detainees in the centre.

Staff have been injured and buildings and equipment deliberately damaged, leaving taxpayers with a substantial bill.

The trouble appears to have been started by a few ringleaders who have been involved in small incidents over the past week such as breaking a window, damaging other property and abusing staff.

The incident initially started just before the evening meal, when a number of detainees entered the computer room and started smashing equipment provided for their use.

Other buildings were subsequently damaged and equipment and furnishings in those buildings has been severely damaged or destroyed including:

A welfare room ransacked, ● The ladies activity centre, with sewing machines and other craft equipment destroyed or damaged, ●

The hairdressing area damaged, ● The dining room ransacked with most furniture destroyed and severe damage to fittings, ●

Small fires lit in two accommodation blocks with reports indicating only minor damage. ●

Five officers have been injured, with cuts and bruises from rocks and other projectiles, some big enough to knock the officers down.

Australian Immigration Media Release - Disturbance at Curtin Detention Centre, WA (1 of 2) [23/04/2002 8:31:30]

One officer was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious, another suffered a cut to the cheek, requiring stitches.

Reports indicate two detainees may be injured but have not yet reported to the medical centre for treatment. One detainee self-harmed during the incident and was treated on site.

A canister of tear gas on an officer's belt was hit by a rock thrown by a detainee, causing it to discharge. About 10 staff and about 15 detainees were affected by the gas.

It is unacceptable that staff should be subjected to this sort of violence, while going about their duty.

The incident was reported to police for investigation.

20 April 2002

For more information contact DIMIA Public Affairs, 02 6264 2244 (AH) 0419 442 000

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Last update: 22 April 2002 at 14:15 AEST

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Australian Immigration Media Release - Disturbance at Curtin Detention Centre, WA (2 of 2) [23/04/2002 8:31:30]