The Home Affairs Ministry issued a statement on Monday afternoon about the Hal Far Open Centre riots, saying that around 300 were involved.
It said that incidents at the Hal Far Open Centre occurred when a migrant tried to enter the Open Centre while drunk, “against the centre’s regulations.”
“While a small group of immigrants incited a riot that spread to around 300 people, a considerable number of other migrants did not take part in any way,” the Home Affairs Ministry said.
“Through work that began at night and continued Monday morning, the police launched investigations and eventually arrested 60 people who allegedly incited the incidents.”
The Home Affairs Ministry thanked the AWAS agency for their work and the police, while expressing solidarity with those who suffered damages. The ministry said that over the past two years, various meetings took place with the employees, that even ended in a collective agreement and more investment in human resources. The minister on Monday met with the employees and it was agreed that a meeting with the GWU will take place Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, riot police were called in to arrest the migrants who are believed to have been behind the uprising that took place on Sunday night.
The incident had seen three cars were burnt and a police vehicle was damaged. One police officer was also slightly injured.
The arrests were made hours after the riot at the Hal FGar open centre was brought under control.
They were taken to the police headquarters on police buses, escorted by traffic policemen. Some of the migrants were led away in handcuffs.
The police had intervened at 10pm Sunday to quell the riots, believed to have been sparked after a migrant had been refused entry into the open centre because he was inebriated.
Three vehicles belonging to the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum seekers were burnt by migrants in the protest, which was brought under control six hours later, at 4am.
A police car was also damaged and an officer was injured during the uprising.
Later on, during the morning and early afternoon, riot police arrested at least 60 migrants in connection with the incident.
At around 1pm, Hal Far Detention Centre employees – visibly shocked by what had taken place earlier – were also seen protesting outside Castille, holding signs reading “security for everyone” and “safety for everyone.”
During the uprising, migrants threw objects at the officers, with one of the policemen being slightly injured. Ther also set the three AWAS vehicles on fire, completely destroying them. They also caused damage to the premises where they are housed.
A spokesman for the police said that the protest started inside the Hal Far Centre but other migrants who are not detained went on site to join in.
Home Minister Michael Farrugia told One News that reports that 1,000 migrants had taken part in the uprising was exaggerated, saying that some 300 migrants were involved.
The police had elevated evidence which will help in the prosecution of the masterminds behind the uprising, including CCTV footage.
The police had also carried out searches to look for illicit items that could have been in the migrants’ possession at the time of the uprising, the minister said, saying that some of the migrants will be taken to court.
Photos Michael Camilleri
Photo: Net News