Chaos on Manus Island amid centre’s closure

It was chaos back in the small island province of Manus as the deadline of the closure of the Regional Processing Centre was reached.

Lorengau Town residents, led by non-government organisation, Manus Alliance against Human Rights Abuse, today marched with placards to the Manus Provincial Government headquarters, petitioning the Australian Government to free asylum seekers from detention on Manus and take them back to Australia.

Despite the provincial police commander, David Yapu, saying any protest march today regarding the shutdown would be deemed illegal, residents of Lorengau Town fronted at the Manus Provincial Government and handed their petition to Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin.

The petition was addressed to the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Parliament and the Chief Justice as heads of the three Constitutional Arms of Government.

It stated that with the court ruling to have the detention closed by today, keeping the refugee in detention without charge is inhumane, unlawful and is a gross violation of human rights under international law and conventions on the protection of asylum seekers and refugees.

Sources from the Provincial Government told this newsroom that most of the Australians working at the Lombrum Detention Centre have packed up and left in a chartered plane yesterday; a day ahead of the shutdown deadline today.

It was relayed that the issue will now be handled by the Manus Provincial Government and the PNG Government, with a siege being predicted as refugees refused to move out by 4:06pm today when water and power to the detention centre in Lombrum will be cut off.

More on TVWAN News at 6pm tonight.

Glenda Popot