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WA Church hits back after Govt provocation

Catholic Mission in Perth has accused the Federal Government of making misleading and inflammatory statements about this month's riots at Port Hedland detention centre.

Catholic Mission archdiocesan director Francis Leong told The West Australian that the visit by Mandurah Catholic College students had not been the catalyst for riots, as suggested in a press release by officials from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

The school excursion coincided with a violent clash between centre staff and about 20 detainees. The incident ended after tear gas was used.

Mr Leong said he was alarmed at the way a Government agency had used the students to seemingly deflect attention from their policies.

A department spokeswoman said last night the department did not want to get into a policy debate.

A hunger strike at Port Hedland was believed to have ended without incident yesterday.

Nauru tots face more bars (The West Australian 16/12/03)

Catholic Mission
Archdiocese of Perth | Catholic Mission | Press Release from Catholic Mission about the Visit of Mandurah Catholic College to Port Hedland
Response To Allegations Regarding The Incident At Port Hedland On 4 December
(Media Release, Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 8/12/03)

Staff Injured in Detainee Rioting at Port Hedland (Media Release, Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 5/12/03)
Failed school excursion sparks riot (CathNews 8/12/03)
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)

16 Dec 2003