PNG Police Given Authority To Arrest Any Strikers Threatening Essential Services

Civil society group claims peaceful protests against PM have begun

By Franklin Kolma

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 13, 2016) – Officers of the Papua New Guinea Royal Constabulary have been given the nod to arrest anyone seen to be inciting strike action within essential services by the National Security Advisory Committee.

This follows a widespread announcement over social media and various other internal private and public sector communicative mediums to halt work today until such a time that the PM resigns or steps down.

This movement although seen to be not lacking in support, scraped late last night by various elites of the organisations whose disgruntled workers had attempted to strike.

[PIR editor's note: On July 13, 2016 RNZI reported that 'A civil society group in Papua New Guinea says its call for peaceful strike action is being enacted by people in the country's three main cities. ... The group issued the call after the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, ignored its ultimatum to stand down by midnight last night to face fraud allegations. ... A lawyer representing the group, Moses Murray, said the strike is not militant in nature nor is its purpose to disrupt essential services like water and electricity.']

The strike threat came from unions in the air transport and maritime sectors, who called on current Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to step down at midnight last night to face fraud allegations.

The Chief Secretary to government, Isaac Lupari told the press yesterday that the committee could invoke two laws which enable police to arrest people advocating violence, disrupting public services and destroying public property.

So far Eda Ranu (water supplier), Air Niugini (Air transport) and the PNG Maritime Board all have issue statements to the press that it will be business as usual and that no strike will come about to disrupt these essential public services.

The Trades Union Congress has also informed the press that it does not endorse calls for a general strike of any kind and that these attempts at disruption of societal activity are the works of a few disgruntled workers who are taking personal agendas to the workplace.

PNG Post-Courier
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