UPNG building set alight due to ‘spillover’

The burning of the University of Papua New Guinea’s Uni Venture building this morning was a spillover from yesterday’s confrontation.

(A student leader told Loop PNG that students are still frustrated following the shooting of their colleagues on June 8.

“In the history of UPNG, we successfully held the most non-violent protest for the last eight weeks.”

He said the students displayed maturity, professionalism, diplomacy and most importantly, patriotism.

“Instead of working with the students and bring peace after allowing the police to come in and shoot unarmed students, they send the Uniforce to harass them.”

According to the student leader, yesterday, a group of male students were chewing betelnut and discussing Wednesday’s State of Origin game II when Uniforce stopped there and allegedly swore at the crowd.

They tried to dismiss the crowd that they believed was the group that was stopping a few science students from attending classes.

The students did not take kindly to being sworn at, which resulted in the altercation yesterday that left behind five burnt vehicles and a couple of damaged buildings.

“The UPNG SRC and provincial leaders engaged the Catholic Bishops Conference, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, the UN and the UPNG Chaplin Service to negotiate between the students and administration to bring normalcy and peace.”

However, the reconciliation, which was supposed to happen yesterday, did not eventuate due to the fight.

“The UPNG administration needs to come down and address this issue,” he said.

Students will only go to class after the administration makes peace with them, he explained.

(Pictures: Supplied)


Carmella Gware