20 Jan 2015

Manus Island timeline of events

11:05 am on 20 January 2015

Timeline of events - asylum seekers protesting at Manus Island.

  • Tuesday, 13 January: More than 100 asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre, officially run by Papua New Guinea but funded and organised by Canberra, protested their detention and plans for resettlement in PNG. The protests started in Mike compound, a recent addition to the centre that holds about 200 asylum seekers.
  • Wednesday, 14 January: Detainees in the other compounds, Oscar, Foxtrot and Delta, follow suit. Up to 500 men joined the hunger strike with two people reported to have stitched their lips together. Reports suggested that protesters refused to return to their rooms. Running water became unavailable, with staff and detainees having to use bottled water.
  • An asylum seeker tries to reach for drinking water outside of the Manus Island compound.

    An asylum seeker tries to reach for drinking water outside of the Manus Island compound. Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

  • Thursday, 15 January: An asylum seeker collapsed after reportedly swallowing razor blades in protest.
  • Friday, 16 January: Hunger strikers began to collapse after going days without food. In Canberra, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton alleged detainees were being encouraged to engage in "non-compliant behaviour" by refugee advocates and staff on Manus. This was denied by refugee advocates. Riot police were filmed around the centre, wearing body armour and carrying shields.
  • Saturday, 17 January: Protests continued. The staff mess hall was converted into an overflow medical centre for dozens of asylum seekers who suffered from severe dehydration.
  • Protests on Manus Island during the recent hunger strikes.

    Protests on Manus Island during the recent hunger strikes. Photo: Supplied

  • Sunday, 18 January: Four men were reportedly taken to a solitary confinement unit. An urgent appeal was sent to the United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights by refugee advocates.
  • Monday, 19 January: Papua New Guinea's immigration minister, Rimbink Pato, issued a statement to say the protests were being managed and deny reports that PNG Police have been sent to the centre. PNG Police have been largely blamed for the unrest at the centre in February 2014 that led to the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati.

Conflicting reports emerged from the centre late in the evening, with some media and refugee advocates saying security guards in riot gear charged into the centre and arrested up to 60 people.

However, the ABC reported the standoff was resolved peacefully when PNG's Chief Migration Officer, Mataio Rabura, entered the blockaded Delta compound and negotiated an end to the blockade.

Protests continue in the other compounds.

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