An Update on Student Protests and the Police shooting incident in Port Moresby

APNGBC has compiled news from various sources on what we know about the shooting incident that took place in PNG on June 8th.

— By APNGBC, Various

Video:  June 10th - TVWAN News crew were blindfolded - and led to a very secluded area - where a one on one interview was done with the SRC President - Kenneth Rapa 

On 8 June 2016, there was unrest in and around the University of PNG campus in Waigani related to ongoing student protests which resulted in the police shooting of unarmed student protestors at the University of Papua New Guinea. This incident made international headlines with initial reports claiming four deaths. Miraculously it has been confirmed that no students were killed in the altercation, but at least 17 and up to 38 have been injured, some critically. This latest event comes after more than a month of protests from students calling for the resignation of Peter O’Neill.

Here we have compiled the latest updates on the incident.

8th June, opinion: Papua New Guinea's students have a point. Peter O'Neill should talk to them, not send police - Jonathan Pryke


10th June, opinion: PNG shootings are not a Tiananmen moment - by Sean Dorney


15th June: The Papua New Guinean government has banned Student Protests after the violent clash, they have also suspended parliament and are questioning the integrity of both the student body and international media. The Ombudsman commission has announced an investigation into the police action. The student representatives have called for an independent inquiry.

The international response to the incident has been muted. Initial calls for calm and respect for peaceful protest and peaceful assembly from both the Australian government and the head of the United Nations have not been followed by condemnation of police action.

While calm has returned to Port Moresby the unrest has spread to the provinces over the weekend, with reported clashes in the highland cities of Goroka and Mt Hagen as well as in PNG’s second largest city Lae. It is still a very volatile situation.  - Lowy Interpreter


15th June, opinionPNG student protests: Moulding the leaders of tomorrow - by Jenny Hayward-Jones


16th June: For a recap on events to date see Bal Kama's piece for The Interpreter.


22nd June: Universities across PNG are at an impasse with their students, who are refusing adhere to government and university administration demands that they return to class until justice over the actions of police two weeks ago is delivered. 


30th June  – Pacific Islands Links - by Anna Kirk

  • Unrest continues in PNG with the tragic murder of a first year student, Graham Romanong, at Unitech in Lae over the weekend. Hundreds of people covered themselves in mud and marched through his home town of Mendi in the Southern Highlands to mourn him.
  • The University's Vice Chancellor Albert Schram told ABC's Pacific Beat that an investigation is underway but initial reports are that a group of both outsiders and students are responsible for the attack.
  • Buildings were also torched at the Lae campus and on Friday at the UPNG campus in Port Moresby.
  • This follows on from weeks of student protests across PNG that led to confrontation between protestors and police in early June. Eoin Blackwell provided a comprehensive update of the situation on The Huffington Post.
  • PNG's Cabinet has approved the National Security Council's proposal to enforce a curfew on university campuses to stem the violence as Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has accused the Opposition Leader Don Polye of involvement with the protest movement.


19th July - Foreign Correspondent

Eight or more students shot, universities boycotted, a Prime Minister fighting for his political life. Eric Tlozek looks behind the unrest afflicting Australia's nearest neighbour, PNG. This insightful episode aired on Tuesday 19th July and is available to watch on iview. Watch now.




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