Protests In PNG Follow Introduction Of National ID Program

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People in Mount Hagen feel ID violates their constitutional rights

By Jacob Pok

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 11, 2015) –The launch of the PNG National Identification program in the country’s third largest city, Mt Hagen, yesterday was rudely interrupted by a group of protesters who claimed the program infringed on their constitutional rights.

This happened in front of high-profile delegates, including National Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel, PNGNID registrar general Dickson Kiragi, Western Highlands Governor Paias Wingti, Mul-Baiyer MP Koi Trappe, former Western Highlands premiers and provincial executive members.

The protesters, numbering about 200, marched onto the Queen Elizabeth Park to join hundreds of people who had already gathered to witness the launching of the program in Western Highlands Province.

The protesters carried banners and placards to express their views opposing the PNG National Identification (PNGNID) concept that the Government initiated and rolled out in the provinces.

The protesters were told to behave while demonstrating their views.

But police personnel providing security for the occasion had to fire several warning shots to disperse the protesters who had turned rowdy and opposed the speeches delivered by the delegates.

The protesters claimed that the PNGNID was not in the people’s best interest and it would deprive them of their constitutional rights. They claimed that PNGNID was unconstitutional and implemented with ulterior motives.

In the recent past, opposition had been voiced about the detailed and confidential information that people were required to divulge in filling their application forms.

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