Lae City, PNG Returns To Normal After 2 Days Of Unrest

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

Morobe Provincial government accepts petition from protestors

By Junior Ukaha

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 12, 2015) – Most businesses, schools and government offices in Lae have re-opened after two days of disquiet in the city.

Police said the situation returned to normal after a group of men, who created chaos and havoc on Monday and Tuesday, presented a petition to Morobe Governor Kelly Naru. It listed their eight demands, including the total ban on street vending.

They met Naru and government officials at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium on Tuesday. Lae Metropolitan Commander Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr said "it was business as usual" in the city yesterday.

"Things have returned to normal despite a slow start this morning," Wagambie said.

"Shops in Eriku, Top Town and Main Market areas have reopened for business.

"The highway has been reopened and buses travelling from Madang and the Highlands are coming to Lae."

Wagambie said the protesters were satisfied that the provincial government had accepted their petition. Naru promised to respond to their petition within seven days.

Wagambie said the relatives of the man who died in hospital after he was allegedly assaulted during the protest on Monday had discussed the matter with Naru.

"Police are monitoring the situation and on standby to address any threats and uprising," Wagambie said.

Meanwhile, the Lae Chamber of Commerce advised its members that the situation was "quiet".

President Alan McLay in an email to members said: "I advise that Lae has been quiet today (yesterday) with only a few isolated incidents.

"From this (yesterday) morning, many buses have returned, with the back road buses starting to operate from mid-morning."

McLay said many employees had to walk to work earlier in the morning.

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