Unitech students continue ‘indefinite’ boycott as PM’s reply falls short

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neil has responded in letters to the University of Papua New Guinea and University of Technology student presidents following their petitions submitted to his office. NBC News video report by Esther Bralyn Wani.

By Lucy Kopana in Lae

Students at the University of Technology in Papua New Guinea’s second city of Lae have declared an indefinite period of boycott as student unrest in the country today entered the fourth week.

“All academic departments have shut down and no assessments will take place during this time” a Boycott Committee spokesperson, Livingstone Fontenu, told NauFM News.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was said to have received the Unitech petition on Tuesday last week but did not respond within the 48hour deadline given by the Student Representative Council (SRC).

The SRC was advised by the Office of the Prime Minister that O’Neill would respond when he received the petition from the University of Papua New Guinea students as well.

O’Neill gave separate, but similar, responses to both petitions on Friday but said he would need advice as the student constitutional demands were “technical and legal in nature”.

-Partners-

He did not directly respond to their demands that he should stand down and allow the corruption allegations investigation to proceed unhindered.

The Unitech students have built tents in the academic area and are congregating in their regional groups to wait and further discuss on possible courses of action that could be taken next.

“The most common one that is currently discussed and is likely to be the next course of action is a public mass awareness,” said Fontenu.

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