15 Nov 2007

Police stop planned protest against PNG PM

2:08 pm on 15 November 2007

A planned protest march in Port Moresby today has been stopped by police who say there are threats to the life of the Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare and other senior leaders.

The protesters had intended calling for Sir Michael to resign over the government's handling of the Julian Moti affair.

They were also concerned at the establishment of Petromin, a state company which will handle the government's interests in the oil and mineral sector.

The Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, says their intelligence has linked the death threats to today's planned march.

The organisers say the refusal to allow the march impinges on their rights to freedom of expression and our correspondent Alex Rheeney says this view is shared by others.

"The Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta released a statement saying while police have a constitutional responsibility to protect people and property, they should not stop people from expressing what they feel."

Alex Rheeney