Youth Protests Shutter PNG’s Second City, Lae

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Police struggle to restore order after illegal march

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 10, 2015) – Lae grinded to a halt yesterday as Morobe youths took to the city centre to protest against street vendors.

Businesses and Government offices closed as more than 300 youths converged on the city from different directions, causing fear in the business community, panic among residents and destruction to facilities.

Police, who were also caught off guard, said that in minor skirmishes, five people from the Highlands were injured, two of them seriously and had to be hospitalised.

The city’s PMVs were quickly taken off the roads, leaving many commuters and school children stranded.

The situation was tense last night but the youths plan to present a petition to Governor Kelly Naru today. Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Anthony Wagambie Jr warned opportunists not to take advantage of the situation but assured residents and businesses that police will be out in full force today to restore peace in the city.

[PIR editor’s note: PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘Police in Lae City were able to contain the unlawful protest march yesterday which resulted in five persons from the Highlands including a woman seriously assaulted by Morobean people. All five injured were quite serious and were admitted to the Angau Memorial Hospital where one of them, a man believed to be from the Enga province is reported to have died from the injuries he sustained during the attack. Relatives of the deceased today attempted to block off the road at 4 Mile, Lae and protest but were dispersed by police who are closely monitoring the situation.’]

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