Protesting students shot in crackdown over UPNG march

Armed police confront protesting students at the University of Papua New Guinea's Waigani campus today. Image: Citizen Journalist

At least one University of Papua New Guinea student was allegedly shot in the back at the main Waigani campus in the capital of Port Moresby today by a police officer during an attempted protest march to Parliament, Loop PNG reports.

Some Australian-based media reported as many as four people shot dead, but student leaders could not confirm numbers.

Later, Port Moresby General Hospital chief executive Grant R, Muddle announced there had been no deaths but confirmed eight people – four seriously – had been taken to the hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. Two wounded people had been discharged by late yesterday.

A Uniforce Security guard confirmed the shootings, saying they rushed wounded students to the hospital.

A student leader told Loop PNG that they had been trying to get police clearance for weeks to stage a peaceful march to Parliament.

They have been calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step down and face an investigation into corruption allegations.

“Today we tried to peacefully go over [to Parliament] on buses but [the police] would not allow the buses to go,” said the student leader, who did not want to be named.

“But the students were adamant in going to Parliament, not to start an uprising or riot, but to peacefully show our grievances to our MPS.”

They tried to walk out of the main gate but police would not let them through. Police officers started firing tear gas into the crowd.

Hit in the back
A final year female student told Loop PNG that an officer hit her on the back with a loud hailer when she was on the ground; she had fallen while trying to escape the tear gas.

A male student was helping her up when right in front of them, an officer shot their colleague.

The students are alleging that four of their colleagues were shot by police while others were assaulted.

Women mourn shot UPNG students

Later stories at Asia Pacific Report

Print Friendly, PDF & Email