Australian police crushed a protest by asylum-seekers at the Christmas Island detention centre today, firing tear gas and stun grenades at the refugees.
Authorities said a riot had broken out at the complex and the asylum-seekers had "used improvised weapons and lit several fires," apparently in wheelie bins.
Police responded with the gas, grenades and "bean bag rounds" - lead bullets encased in cushions.
A spokesman said no-one had been seriously injured.
The Department of Immigration refused to reveal what the refugees had been protesting about.
"Their reasons are their own. We are not going to speak for them," a spokesman said.
But local papers quoted Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition as saying the detention centre had become "a hellhole" where asylum-seekers felt "ignored and desperate."
The protest was not the first this year at the camp - in March over 200 inmates set fire to the building and then attempted to escape.
The Australian Federal Police said today that it was the fifth time since January that they had fired on asylum-seekers.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard condemned the protesters for "misbehaving.
"If you commit a criminal offence it will be counted against you," she blustered. "Indeed, it will prevent you from getting a visa."
The detention centre is now believed to be seriously overcrowded as refugees are dumped there while their applications are processed.
The UN refugee agency has slammed Australia's automatic detention policy, saying it violates international law and does not appear to deter asylum-seekers, many of whom have fled poverty and war in the Middle East and south-east Asia.
Authorities at the island caused a scandal in 2001 when they claimed a boatload of refugees had thrown their children into the sea in protest at being turned away - an accusation that a Senate select committee later found to be untrue.
The previous Howard government excluded Christmas Island from Australia's migration zone, removing the automatic right to apply to the government for refugee status and allowing the navy to ship asylum-seekers to other countries.
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