19 Jan 2015

Manus Island standoff resolved

9:56 pm on 19 January 2015

A standoff between asylum seekers and guards at a compound inside the Manus Island detention centre has been resolved, according to a Papua New Guinea government spokesman.

Asylum seekers in Manus Island centre protesting  against resettlement plans

Asylum seekers in Manus Island centre protesting against resettlement plans Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

The spokesman said chief migration officer Mataio Rabura entered Delta block and negotiated an end to the blockade, allowing dehydrated protesters to get medical treatment.

The spokesman also said security guards were involved, and that police were in attendance but stayed back.

There were no serious injuries, according to the spokesman.

Asylum seekers in other compounds who did not witness the confrontation reported people being beaten, dragged on the ground and handcuffed.

Discussions are continuing between leaders of the protest and Mr Rabura.

Detainees of Delta compound were preventing staff from entering and refusing food and water on what was the seventh day of protests at the facility.

Asylum seekers who barricaded themselves inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre earlier said police and guards were preparing to enter the compound by force.

The asylum seekers were protesting against the prospect of refugees being resettled in PNG, with some asking for the United Nations to take custody of them instead.

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton earlier urged protesters to "cease their aggressive actions and allow service providers to enter compounds and provide services especially to those not participating in protest activity".

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten criticised the Government for not being transparent enough about the situation on Manus Island.

"Whatever one's perspective, I think all Australians are unhappy about a culture of secrecy," he said.

"These people are directly or indirectly in the care of Australia, and the Government just needs to come clean about what is happening."


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