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Australia: Officials confirm 'major disturbance' at Christmas Island detention centre

Police gathering near an entrance at the remote facility. Credit: APTN

Australian officials are attempting to contain unrest at a remote detention centre for asylum seekers in the Indian Ocean.

The immigration department confirmed there was a "major disturbance" at the centre on Christmas Island, which is Australian territory.

Refugee advocates say riots broke out following the death of an asylum seeker who escaped from the facility over the weekend.

People gathered next to ambulance inside the detention centre. Credit: APTN

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that anyone found to have committed a crime during the disturbance will face "the full force of the law."

Immigration centre riots after asylum seeker's death

The Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre. Credit: APTV

Riots have erupted at an immigration detention centre on a remote Australian island after the death of an asylum seeker.

Fences at the facility on the outpost of Christmas Island were torn down while guards were forced to abandon the site, which holds hundreds of people, some of whom had attempted to reach Australia by boat.

The apparent abandonment means detainees seeking political asylum may no longer be separated from foreigners facing deportation for a variety of crimes.

The body of the man, who was identified by campaigners as an Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker, was discovered on Sunday at the bottom of cliffs away from the centre, the Immigration Department said.

Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton told parliament the unrest began at around 11pm local time on Sunday.

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