Australian asylum seekers continue strike, ‘lock out’ staff
A PROTEST by asylum seekers at an Australian offshore detention centre has entered its seventh day, with hundreds reportedly on a hunger strike.
Detainees at one compound on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have locked staff out, according to Australian media reports.
Australia has accused the detainees of aggressive and disruptive behaviour.
The policy of detaining asylum seekers offshore – intended as a deterrent – has been criticised by rights groups.
Australia sends all asylum seekers arriving by boat to offshore camps in PNG and the Pacific territory of Nauru for detention and processing.
The Manus Island centre was the scene of deadly riots last February, when local residents entered the facility and clashed with detainees. One asylum seeker was killed and at least 70 were hurt in the violence.
Detainees in one part of the camp have barricaded themselves inside their compound and can no longer take deliveries of food, reports say.
The detainees are reportedly protesting against a PNG government plan to move 50 of them, who have been deemed to be genuine refugees, to Lorengau, the capital of Manus province.