Hunger Strikes & Defiant Protests Continue On Manus Island As Police Reportedly Clash With Refugees

Hugely confronting news from Manus Island has surfaced today, as reports roll in of the harrowing protests being staged by asylum seekers in the Papa New Guinea detention centre.

An outrageous scar on Australia’s draconian immigration policy, the conditions and ideology behind Manus Island is truly distressing. Today, the Guardian reports that as many as 100 detainees on the island are continuing a hunger strike that started on Tuesday, with many suffering from extreme dehydration while they refuse water.

But don’t worry, it only gets worse.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 30-40 asylum seekers have stitched their lips together as a a sign of protest; four others have been hospitalised after ingesting washing powder, and two have reportedly swallowed razor blades. ABC quotes an asylum seeker saying that guards on the island have been throwing stones at men in the Delta unit. Furthering this, SMH reports that “violent clashes” between guards and asylum seekers have been taking place. Chants of “Freedom!” can be heard in the Vine below.

The protests have been sparked by the Australian government’s stern decision to refuse asylum to refugees arriving by boat to Australia; Manus Island asylum seekers are instead being resettled in Papa New Guinea. According to the Guardian, asylum seekers detained on Manus Island are requesting to be managed by the UN instead. A statement reads:

“Dear Mr Minister, PNG is not safe place for us and if we are supposed to die there, we will die here in the centre. Our message today is very clear to the immigration of Australia, our decision will never change. Hand us over to the UN.”

As much as we’d like to, we can no longer collectively facepalm and rage to Scott Morrison about all of this; his position as Immigration Minister has recently been handed on to Peter Dutton

Crushingly, Dutton is, if anything: worse. In his first press conference as Immigration Minister, Dutton essentially belittled the gravity of the situation on Manus Island by saying, “The situation is volatile there’s no question about that,” while also insisting: “the absolute resolve of me as the new minister and of the Government is to make sure that for those transferees they will never arrive in Australia.” 

Wake up, Dutton. SMDH.

Lead image by Handout via Getty.