Scott Morrison’s impersonation of Frank Drebin has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
In the first Naked Gun movie, the hapless detective walks past an exploding fireworks factory saying, “Nothing to see here, move along!”
The Federal Immigration Minister yesterday called the protest on Christmas Island, “fairly low level activity”.
But according to a whistle-blower who works at the detention centre, yesterday it escalated into a “full scale riot”.
“Detainees were smashing their heads against the concrete. There was blood everywhere,” he says. “Four detainees are in hospital with broken bones.”
After cutting more than half-a-million-dollars funding from the peak refugee body, the Minister is blaming advocates for “wildly exaggerating” the size of the protest, which began last week tomark 100 days since the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati on Manus Island.
But this latest information comes from an AFP officer – not a refugee advocate.
He says he’s, “angry that the media haven’t reported any of these incidents”, because “the AFP have no staff to deal with outbursts” and many officers “are off injured”.
On the 1st of June, he alleges the centre’s Emergency Response Team “came under attack”, despite assertions from Mr. Morrison the situation was “under control”.
The whistle-blower claims the rioting had been going on for days.
The Refugee Action Coalition confirms AFP officers, dressed in riot gear, forcibly broke up the protest in the green zone around 11am yesterday, with those involved moved to the Red Zone.
“The instances where the red compound is used are instances where there are high self harm threats, or high repeated self harm, or violent incidents arising from non-compliant behaviour of a detainee,” an Immigration Department spokesman told the ABC.
An ambulance was yesterday dispatched from the township to the detention centre.
“The situation on Christmas Island is deteriorating badly,”according to Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Some asylum seekers are being denied their daily medication because of the lockdown.”
The protesters, some of whom had sewn their lips and engaged in a hunger strike, are demanding a resolution to their claims for asylum. They’re also frustrated by overcrowding, following claims the centre has breached its contingency capacity.
In 2011, riots broke out amid allegations of overcrowding, with the AFP using used tear gas and beanbag rounds on detainees who hurled rocks at staff and set fire to the accommodation block at the centre.
This time, the AFP officer says he “fears for his life and everyone on the island”.
As tensions rise, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young claims an 18-year-old asylum seeker tried to kill himself.
Two academics from the Centre of Values, Ethics and Law at the University of Sydney contend, “the real goal of the current system (is) to break asylum seekers, to make them mentally and physically ill as a warning to others”.
Let’s take a moment to think about who’s really feeling demented and unhinged. Perhaps this is what federal ministers should be concentrating on, instead of faux leadership speculation.
Later this week, the Immigration Minister will meet his counterparts in Papua New Guinea, after brushing aside claims by PNG police he’d been involved in a “major cover-up” over the fatal Manus Island riots.
PNG’s deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba, last week attacked the ”lack of co-operation” from Australian government agencies, and said the Government report by Robert Cornall”hampers our ongoing investigations”.
I guess we’re not the only ones being treated like mushrooms.
Move along, nothing to see here…
UPDATE: 3/6/2014: On Tuesday afternoon, an AFP spokesperson said: “The AFP was not operationally involved in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection operation to remove protestors from the Green Heart area of North West Point, Christmas Island Detention Centre on Monday, 02 June 2014.
Any further questions regarding the management of the centre should be directed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.”