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Failed school excursion sparks riot

A failed Mandurah Catholic College excursion to the Port Hedland Detention Centre sparked a riot on Thursday night that left two centre staff with suspected spinal injuries.

Tear gas was used to quell the riot that quickly escalated from a rooftop protest to a violent clash involving about 20 detainees, the immigration department said.

Jackie Rehmani, whose Afghani husband of six months has been held in the centre for almost three years, said the detainees were angered that students from Mandurah Catholic College, south of Perth, were denied access to the centre after travelling about 1700km.

"They (detainees) were fairly insulted about being told that the Catholic schoolgirls would be unsafe in their presence," Mrs Rehmani said.

"There was a bit of an altercation with a guard as they tried to get out of the visiting yard ... the guard tried to stop them leaving and called the riot control.

"Then basically they climbed on the roof."

The immigration department said teachers at the college had been informed in November they would not be permitted to visit the centre because of an imminent change of management.

A total of four ACM staff and one police officer were injured in the disturbance that began about 3pm (WST).

Failed school excursion sparks riot (AAP/The Age 5/12/03)

Violence at Port Hedland Detention Centre (Amnesty International Media Release 5/12/03)
Two injured in detention centre riot (Herald-Sun 6/12/03)
School visit ban sparks riot (The Advertiser 6/12/03)
Mandurah Catholic College
Inside Port Hedland
Port Hedland Detention Centre: Carmen's eye witness report (Sydney Morning Herald 2/9/03)

8 Dec 2003