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June 13, 2021
News Your Vote 2017

One year after UPNG students and Police Confrontation

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Today marks one year since the University of Papua New Guinea and Police confrontation at the UPNG Waigani Campus, which saw students injured as a result.

The Commissions of Inquiry that were launched by the government and the PNG Ombudsman Commission, has to date not yielded any findings to the government.

A year ago at this exact place, police and UPNG students lead by their president, Kenneth Rapa, and other executives were confronted by police who were adamant that the protest march to the Parliament.

After a scuffle, that EMTV News understands at that time, police officers were trying to apprehend the president, Kenneth Rapa, students shoved back and what happened next made the country come to a standstill.

In late April, come early May, the students decided to boycott classes after the Task Force Sweep inspector, Mathew Damaru, was suspended. Their call was for the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to step down and Mathew Damaru be reinstated – were some of the few things in their petition to the Prime minister.

The unrest then ensued with the call for the Prime Minister to receive their petition.

But in  O’Neill’s place a delegation was sent to receive the petition – this was then turned down by the students. Governor Powes Parkop a week later showed up at the campus to receive the petition.

Then the UPNG SRC planned to hold a referendum to see if students wanted to continue the boycott or not, but that had a twist of its own, with the Electoral commission requesting for the UPNG Administration to lodge the request for the referendum and not the SRC.

With the referendum unable to be held, the students then requested for a public rally that was then, not approved by City Peace Committee headed by the governor, Powes Parkop.

This all led up to June 8th, where the gun shots were first fired.

EMTV was at the scene the second time shots were fired. This saw a member of the Police Dog Unit injured. Members of the constabulary entered into the campus and shots were fired inside the University.

Today, the then UPNG SRC Highlands Representative, Hercules Palme, who was on the front line recalls what happened on June 8th of last year.

A total of 11 University students were injured along with a primary school student on that day.

For those who witnessed, and the students who were in the middle of the shooting, it will be a day that they will not forget.

 

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