Residents in nearby suburbs reportedly fled their homes because of fumes from gas at Sydney jail
Inmates at Sydneys Long Bay prison spelled out BLM, standing for Black Lives Matter, after guards used tear gas to break up a reported fight at the prison.
Helicopter footage from above the prison showed inmates lying down along the fence line, surrounded by dozens of officers in riot gear, after what Corrective Services New South Wales described as a fight within an exercise yard on Monday.
In a statement, the agency confirmed guards used tear gas to control inmates after a fight broke out, reportedly causing residents in nearby Malabar to flee their homes because of the fumes.
Footage from the incident shows some inmates using materials to spell out the letters BLM as prisoners were being tear gassed by guards.
Indigenous man David Dungay died in Long Bay jails hospital in 2015, after guards stormed his cell following his refusal to stop eating a packet of biscuits. Dungay said I cant breathe 12 times before he died.
Corrective Services said the fights were drug-related and began when six inmates in one yard assaulted two other inmates in two separate fights.
Multiple inmates began inciting those inmates and refused to obey officers directions and allow staff to go into that yard and stop the fights, a spokeswoman said in a statement.
Officers responded immediately, deploying gas and safely secured those inmates.
Inmates in another two yards then began refusing staff directions and more gas was deployed, the statement said.
One prisoner was taken to hospital after being bitten by a security dog, when he reportedly refused to drop a prison-made weapon.
Corrective Services said on Monday there is no indication the unrest was related to the Black Lives Matter protests.
Corrective Services NSW is investigating the incident and NSW Police have been notified, the spokeswoman said.
According to the ABC, officers handcuffed and escorted the inmates back into the facility one by one after the smoke dissipated.
The gas caused public concern as the fumes travelled into neighbouring communities.
The ABC reported residents in nearby Malabar and Matraville struggled to breathe and felt their eyes and faces burning following the incident.
Smoke from the tear gas canisters reportedly drifted into neighbouring streets causing watery eyes and sore throats among locals.
CSNSW apologises to any members of the community affected by gas used during the incident today and we ask anyone affected to please contact the prison.