Michael Franti was forced to cancel his scheduled gig inside an Australian immigration detention centre on Wednesday after major unrest broke out at the facility.
On Wednesday, disorder erupted among detainees at the Wickham Point immigration facility near Darwin in protest at the immanent transfer of up to two asylum seeker families to a controversial offshore facility on the island of Nauru.
It was reported that 25 detainees committed self-harm and one pregnant woman allegedly attempted suicide. According to reports, an internal fence was breached amongst other damage and paramedics attended the scene. Police denied a riot occurred.
Michael Franti arrived for a specially scheduled performance for detainees at the facility on Wednesday evening but could not gain entry as a result of the unrest earlier in the day.
The outspoken American musician instead joined protesters from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) outside and played music for facility staff on the other side of the fence.
“We were waiting to get into the detention centre yesterday when this disturbance took place and we weren’t able to see any of it because we were still behind the fence,” Franti said, according to the ABC.
“We had to wait a couple of hours then we were told we weren’t going to be able to get in.
“We understand that there were a number of people who did acts of self-mutilation because they were protesting some women being sent back to Nauru who have small children, and one woman who was pregnant.”
Franti is an outspoken human rights advocate and has been a long-time critic of Australia’s policy towards asylum seekers and refugees. He is currently in Australia after playing at the Byron Bay Blues Festival.
TOP IMAGE: Michael Franti with protesters outside the Wickham Point immigration detention centre near Darwin, Australia. (Supplied: Ben Pynt)