Police will be on campus ‘for as long as it takes’

Police will be manning the University of Papua New Guinea’s Waigani campus “for as long as it takes”.

NCD metropolitan superintendent Ben Turi told Loop PNG: “We will stay until we get our orders to go out. “We will be here until everything is calm. If they’re doing mass withdrawal, we will stay until everybody is out.”

Turi was responding to Loop’s questions after the handing over of the students’ petition this afternoon (Thursday) to NCD Governor Powes Parkop.

In a bid to restore normalcy on campus, the academic senate reached out to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. This resulted in more than 50 police vehicles entering the main campus at around 4.45am on Tuesday.

The heavy police presence has dramatically decreased by tonight. Only five police cruisers are parked opposite the Forum Square.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of attempted lootings around the nation’s capital since Wednesday. Opportunists tried to loot shops at Gordon today but quick response by police dispersed the growing crowd. The same incident happened at Chinatown in East Boroko.

Police said opportunists are taking advantage of the public protest. Yesterday, a shop at Gerehu was looted.

Loop asked Turi if police lacked manpower outside because most of the law enforcers had been on campus. “No, it’s just opportunists taking advantage of the situation,” he responded.

The students have given Prime Minister Peter O’Neill 24 hours to respond favourably to their petition. They expect a good response by 3pm tomorrow.

“Mass withdrawal will be our last resort if all other avenues have been exhausted,” UPNG president Kenneth Rapa said this afternoon.

Carmella Gware