'Students are the future leaders of PNG'

About 50 people attended an action in solidarity with students in Papua New Guinea outside the PNG Consulate on June 10. On June 8, PNG police shot at protesting students at the University of Port Moresby.

Sydney-based Papua New Guineans were joined by students, academics, unionists and NGOs to call for an immediate stop to the repression and for the students' demands to be met.

Stanley Kumasimba Wamaware, a PNG student from the University of Sydney, told the rally: “The recent event in Port Moresby between the University of Papua New Guinea students and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is uncalled for in any democratic nation.

“What the police have done is against the constitutional and basic universal human rights of PNG citizens — that is the free will to express themselves without fear or intimidation.”

Co-organiser of the solidarity action Natalie Lowrey said: “Today we stand in solidarity with the vibrant and peaceful student movement in PNG. We support their demands for the rule of law and their call for Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to stand down. The world is watching how the institutions of state and government of PNG continues to treat its citizens.”

Jeanne Haurama, a central province Kairuku/Hiri woman from PNG now residing in Sydney said: “We cannot let this situation escalate into civil unrest. The students must be supported they are the future leaders of PNG. If the students intended violence they would have done it five weeks ago, but they didn't.

“We demand Peter O'Neill to do the honourable thing, to step down and stop the escalation of violence.”

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