12 Mar 2007

University teachers in PNG arrested after two weeks of strike action

3:19 pm on 12 March 2007

Police in Papua New Guinea have arrested executives of the National Academic Staff Association at the University of Technology in Lae following protests.

The NASA president, Pulas Yowat, says he and three of his colleagues, were in bed when armed police entered the campus at about 2am on Saturday and arrested them.

The National reports that the police are believed to have taken the action at that time to avoid provoking staff or students into a violent confrontation, which follows strike action by the staff.

The four men, who have since been released on bail, have been charged with contempt of court for failing to obey a court order.

Mr Yowat is under court orders not to speak to NASA members who have appointed Dr Anota Loko as their caretaker president.

Dr Loko has since struck a deal with Chancellor Philip Stagg paving the way for classes to start next week.

Sources say that under a memorandum of agreement between Mr Stagg and Dr Loko, contempt charges against the NASA executives would be dropped.