Reports from Manus Island indicate a major protest and breakout has taken place on Manus Island late this afternoon. The most recent reports indicate that the riot squad has been mobilised and that the perimeter fence has been breached.
Protests have been building all day, but escalated after a meeting (around 2pm Manus time) was held to answer asylum seekers’ questions about resettlement.
Shockingly, the asylum seekers were told that they would not be leaving PNG and if they wanted to go somewhere else, they will need to arrange that themselves.
There had been protests throughout the day, but around 4pm Manus Island time, events escalated and the G4S riot squad went into Oscar compound.
A couple of hours later, fences were knocked down and the whole detention centre was locked down as the protests spread to all the compounds. There were reports of a fire being set in one compound and tents have been destroyed.
It seems the perimeter fence of one compound, perhaps Oscar, has now been breached and a major protest is underway.
There are reports of asylum seekers being injured by G4S guards. Some asylum seekers have been taken to the police station.
There have been daily protests on Manus Island involving hundreds of asylum seekers since 25 January as frustrations have increased over delays in processing and uncertainty about their future.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
Correction re Manus Island
At the meeting with Immigration department officials around 2pm Manus Island time, the asylum seekers were told that they would not be leaving PNG – that if they wanted to go somewhere else other than PNG, they would have to arrange this with other countries themselves.
However the situation regarding PNG remains unclear. The Foreign Minister told Parliament this week that there was no refugee visa class and that no decision had been made regarding resettlement in PNG.
Citizenship for refugees is essentially impossible because of the restrictive rules regarding citizenship.
Category: Press releases