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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 21, 2002- The National)---Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has appealed to candidates and police to prevent further election-related violence in Port Moresby.

"Many voters have been assaulted and intimidated by supporters of certain candidates, including in my own electorate," he said.

"My relatives, staff and other supporters have been among the victims.

"The candidates responsible for these attacks, and intimidation, must order their gangs to stop immediately.

"I also appeal to police to take action against these thugs. People must be able to go about their business without fear.

"Election violence is as bad for democracy as the incompetence of the Electoral Commissioner.

"The right of people to exercise their vote as they see fit must be respected by everybody.

"I ask the Police Commissioner to take threats of violence seriously, to identify the ringleaders and take the appropriate action."

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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