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Australia PM 'won't be blackmailed' after bloody PNG riot

Published on Feb 20, 2014 10:52 AM
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at the National Australia Bank's 2014 Reconciliation Action Plan launch in Sydney on Feb 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SYDNEY (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday said he will not succumb to "moral blackmail" over an Australian detention centre on Papua New Guinea, as graphic witness accounts of recent violence told of "blood everywhere".

Unrest at the Manus Island camp this week left an Iranian man dead and more than 70 injured as tensions flared among inmates about their fate under Australia's hardline asylum-seeker policies.

Canberra has sent the head of its military-run Operation Sovereign Borders, Angus Campbell, to the island to assess security and work out what happened.

Despite the violence and demands from refugee advocates that the facility, condemned as "harsh" by the United Nations, should be closed, Abbott said he would not step back from Australia's strong border protection policies.

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