Copyright our traditional symbol: Locals

It is no secret that a lot of money has been made from selling merchandise with the Upe symbol, especially for both diplomatic and political purposes where it is on the flag and on Bougainville government letterheads.

The real owners of the symbol, the people of Wakunai, Central Bougainville, and Kunua/Keriaka North Bougainville are now calling on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to copyright the symbol for their benefit.

Asian shops looted in protest

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred around midday.

Reports from the ground state the issue stemmed from disgruntled locals from the Wakunai area of Central Bougainville, who were protesting the sale of merchandise with the iconic Upe, which originates from the area.

The Upe is worn by young men as they are initiated into adulthood, and is a respected and taboo symbol in the area.

Women are not allowed to wear the symbol.