#SOSManus: Police Evict Asylum Seekers at Australia's Former Detention Camp in Manus Island

  • “This picture is enough to wake up Australia and show how a cruel politician like Peter Dutton is using Australian people for his own political benefit.” Photo and caption by Behrouz Boochani, used with permission

    Increasing levels of violence by police appear to be bringing an end to the confrontation at Australia's former Manus Island regional detention centre in Papua New Guinea, where hundreds of asylum seekers have been refusing to move to new facilities.

    For years, Australia had sent would-be refugees who arrived by boat to the centre. But in April 2016 the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ordered its closure after finding that the detention of asylum seekers there was illegal, and it was officially closed at the end of October 2017.

    However, hundreds of detainees refused to leave, citing fears for their safety, given tension between them and the local community, as well as mistrust of the Australian authorities.

    With police moving to end the standoff, photos and video are popping up on social media, with many yet to be verified. Pakistani detainee Ezatullah Kakar posted this message with video appearing to show police wielding batons and roughly grabbing detainees:

    Iranian journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani has been one of their voices. Yesterday he was held under arrest for two hours before being forcibly relocated.

    Boochani tweeted afterwards:

    Earlier, 12 Australians of the Year had raised their concerns about the situation on Manus, calling on the Australian government to restore basic services at the centre:

    Not everyone on social media agreed with them. Robert Johnstone posted this comment on a Facebook update by Behrouz Boochani:

    Good on Minister Dutton for his tough stance on this . These so called refugees are grown up
    People and knew what they were embarking on when they jumped in a boat . No one twisted their arms , they are solely to blame for their predicament. If you want to
    come to our country come the proper way not through the backdoor like a crim.

    The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his immigration minister Peter Dutton continue to implement a tough stance on the matter. Some would like them to be held to account in court:

    The Manus standoff had already been receiving international attention and not just from the UN refugee agency:

    Meanwhile the situation is changing by the hour. Developments can be followed through the Twitter hashtag #SOSManus.

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