28 Jul 2005

PNG police may again use teargas to curb student protest

1:59 pm on 28 July 2005

Papua New Guinea's Police Assistant Commissioner Tony Wagambie says police plan to evict students from University of Papua New Guinea dormitories soon and will use teargas again if necessary.

Police are involved in what appears to be a deepening confrontation with as many as 200 students at the Port Moresby campus which has been the scene of fierce clashes over the past three weeks.

The students are upset about the application of a stringent grading system.

Mr Wagambie has confirmed that police, led by him, fired teargas into four dormitories on Monday night, about an hour after responding to a confrontation between university guards and students.

But he flatly rejects reports that he and other police involved were drunk at the time.

Mr Wagambie says he cannot confirm reports that serious injuries resulted from the storming of dormitories where some 600 students live.

But he says as soon as he receives a list from the university administration of those students who are to be evicted because of poor grades, he will return to the dormitories, and teargas may be used again.

"Action calls for action. If they shout abuse at the police, the police will go after them. We don't tolerate rubbish around here."

Tony Wagambie.