Earlier today, over 100 PNG police officers entered the detention camps on Manus Island.
According to refugees within the centre and refugee advocates, police destroyed the shelters, beds, water tanks, and all of their belongings. Refugees who were caught filming had their phones taken away from them.
“Police and immigration were very aggressive and some of them were swearing at the refugees,” said journalist refugee Behrouz Boochani –who has been instrumental in reporting the ongoing situation on Manus Island – via the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“More police spread through the prison camp and around the prison, with Navy officers outside. Those inside started to break the shelters and water tanks shouting ‘move, move’, taking people’s phones and searching rooms, taking the refugees there out by force.”
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
Boochani has since been arrested, although it is not clear on what charges exactly that arrest has been made.
Photos, taken by several refugees within the camp, including Boochani, Abdul Aziz Adam, Walild Zazai and Hass Hassaballa, show the destruction of the camp after today’s police operation.
Refugees say the police threw rubbish into their clean drinking water, which has been hard come by since the camp was officially closed at the end of October.
Rubbishes been thrown in Water well pic.twitter.com/IcOylAeZNW— Hass Hassaballa (@has_hasabala) November 23, 2017
They also say that in some cases, police have been burning their possessions.
Refugees are being removed from the camp by force.
One refugee, Ezatullah Kakar, says a bus containing more than 20 people has been taken to the new facilities, which are reportedly without running water, electricity, or a security fence.
One bus gone to the New camp they took many of my friends by force, forcing Settlement in PNG. #MANUS— Ezatullah kakar (@EzatullahKakar) November 23, 2017
More Than 20 people they Took by Force and They beaten very bad, please help Us????#MANUS— Ezatullah kakar (@EzatullahKakar) November 23, 2017
Two refugees were also left in need of urgent medical attention after today’s events, while a third was left with shallow wounds on his back.
The ASRC said it was “deeply disturbed” by the violence this morning, which it says was a combined effort of PNG police and Australian Federal Police.
“The violent forced removal of peaceful refugees demonstrates that refugees and people seeking asylum are unsafe and at grave risk of harm in PNG and must be evacuated now to Australia to protect their human rights,” a spokesperson said.