Moscow, January 19 (Sputnik) — A protest on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, devolved into conflict as security guards stormed one compound full of asylum seekers on Monday.
A heavily armed Emergency Response Team from Wilson Security stormed the Delta compound, which had been barricaded by asylum seekers who were refusing to eat or allow security guards inside, reports AAP.
For seven days asylum seekers had refused to eat or drink water, protesting their resettlement in the Papua New Guinea community. Every day the men have chanted "freedom" as they refused to eat, reports Sydney Herald.
A number of asylum seekers and one guard were injured in the standoff. Refugee advocates also claim up to 30 men were arrested by the security guards.
"There are quite a lot of injuries among the asylum seekers," she said. It is understood that the injuries were mainly cuts and bruises. The armed guards were searching for people with phones," she said.
"I believe they came in to force feed the men and give medical attention," reports Sydney Herald.
It is unclear whether the other three compounds — Foxtrot, Mike and Oscar — have stopped their hunger strikes.
The protesting asylum seekers were branded "irresponsible" by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who had urged them to stop their hunger strike on Monday.
"A number of transferees have regrettably engaged in aggressive behavior over the weekend at the Manus Regional Processing Centre and that protest action is ongoing," he told Sydney Herald.
But the asylum seekers are growing desperate to avoid the Australian government’s plan to resettle them in Papua New Guinea.
"We don't need food or clothes, we need freedom," the asylum seeker said.