Landowners Take PMIZ Protest to Archbishop

By Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang 

One cannot predict situations on the ground around the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project.

Yesterday, a group of landowners enacted a sitting protest at the Catholic Holy Spirit Cathedral in order to grab the attention of Archbishop, Stephen Reichart.

The church service was on when the protesters approached, who sat on the grass at the rear of the building. 

They had banners and placards, which according to them, expressesed their queries about the transaction of their land by the church to the government, that will now see the PMIZ project operate on.

It was more of a silent demonstration as opposed to a protest, with the crowd remaining quiet until the Archbishop came forward and calmly asked one of the protest leaders to speak with him in a different space.

“Let’s go and talk somewhere else, and all these people can come too,” said Archbishop, Stephen Reichart.

It is believed that among the protestors was the chairman of the Madang People’s Forum Group, and a Lutheran Church Pastor.

‘It is the church’s responsibility to stand behind people in good and bad times, and after hearing about this landowners’ cries, I am here to show my support,” said Pr Matei Ibak, a Bible Study Master with the Lutheran Church.

The launching of the project has been deferred to November 24 (tomorrow) and the program of the launching states that there will be a ‘Reconciliation Ceremony’ between the landowner leaders and the government.

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