Iranian journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani has been detained by police, as local authorities continue their operation to disperse more than 400 men occupying the island’s shuttered detention centre.
Boochani, who has served as an eyewitness to the treatment of asylum seekers in detention and as a vocal critic of the Australian immigration policy which placed them there, was lead away from the compound this afternoon.
It is unclear why Boochani was arrested.
Fellow asylum seeker Abdul Aziz Adam photographed the moment Boochani was taken from the compound, after saying he and Boochani had been tweeting updates while hiding in one of the detention centre’s toilet blocks.
They are looking for me and Behrouz they found him but they are not going to find me. These are police are taking Behrouz. pic.twitter.com/G01bA46ETC— Abdul Aziz Adam (@Aziz58825713) November 23, 2017
Previously, Boochani described the situation at the centre, saying police were destroying water tanks and personal belongings in an attempt to move the men to alternative accomodation facilities.
Some of the police squad are swearing at the refugees and threatening them to move. The refugees are still silent and sitting peacefully. Police have started to break the shelters, water tanks and are saying "move, move.” Too much tension and too scary.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 22, 2017
They are taking the phones and are very aggresive and are taking out some refugees who still remain in the rooms. Something terrible is happening right now, they are taking the refugees out of the rooms.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 22, 2017
They are destroying everything. Shelters, tanks, beds and all of our belongings. They are very aggressive and put our belongings in the rubbish bins. The refugees still are silent are watching them so scared.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 22, 2017
Photographs taken inside the centre show the extent of today’s damage.
They destroying all our property.— Walid Zazai (@ZazaiWalid) November 22, 2017
They are so angry, and telling us leave our land
First they said move to town,now more angry and telling us leave our land otherwise we will kill u.
Police commissioner Yapu said: It's an Order from Australian and PNG governments to move u out pic.twitter.com/uyA7p4wcsI
Boochani has bravely served as one of the main direct sources of information from the centre, which was officially closed at the beginning of the month.
He has previously asserted that asylum seekers are reluctant to move to the three alternative accomodation centres furbished by the Australian government, citing the fear of reprisals from the local community and lacking medical provisions to those who’ve already moved.
Police operations are ongoing. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.
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Image: Abdul Aziz Adam / Getty