Contributed by ugly
PNG police, with the involvement of Australian Federal Police, moved in yesterday to forcefully remove the occupiers from the detention centre on Manus Island.
They charged in shouting, “move, move,” and hundreds of men still inside and refusing to leave were forcefully evicted.
Award winning journalist Behrouz Boochani, who has been playing a key role in informing the outside world about what is going on was taken into custody.
He has been in detention for more than four years.
The men had refused to leave the centre and go to alternative facilities set up for them among the Island community, which they believe, would set them up for violent attacks.
A section of the population that does not want them on the island and has already demonstrated a preparedness to use violent attacks.
The detention centre may have been a bad place to be in and a place in which to be treated badly. But at least it did provide protection against attacks from outside.
The occupation had lasted four weeks. In that time, water power and food supplies were cut off. The occupiers managed to survive with the help of residents, who supplied food and water. some Manus Islanders are on their side.
As the police moved in Boochani tweeted, “So many police and immigration officers are around us at this moment. They destroyed everything and our belongings and right now are shouting at us to leave the prison camp.
“Immigration and police started searching the rooms and are saying ‘Move Move’, you only have an hour to move. Too much stress and tension here in Delta. Some refugees are crying.
“I am tweeting from a toilet right now.”
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the union that represents journalists has condemned his arrest and called on the Australian government to step in. The PNG government had threatened to arrest those it called the ringleaders of the protest.
Boochani said that the ‘very aggressive’ police were taking phones.
World Vision Chief Advocate Tim Costello, who is on Manus Island, called on Turnbull to personally intervene and bring the unfolding humanitarian crisis “to a swift and humane resolution.”
In the province as part of a delegation for the Australian Council of International Development, Costello said there is still shock on Manus among locals and humanitarian workers over Australia’s decision to walk away from the centre.
Malcolm Turnbull and leading ministers have insisted that this is a matter for the PNG authorities and that Australia is not involved.
If this is the case, how then were Australia police involved in the raid? It is time for a bit of honesty and decency.