5 May 2010

Thousands protest in PNG's capital

10:20 am on 5 May 2010

More than 5000 Papua New Guineans rallied in the capital Port Moresby yesterday to protest against legal amendments they say will weaken the country's anti-corruption watchdog.

After a short march to parliament house, the protesters handed over a petition of 20,000 signatures calling for a stop to moves to restrict the powers of the Ombudsman Commission.

The protest follows weeks of public debate and outrage over what many fear will be a further erosion of governance in a country ranked by Transparency International as 151st most corrupt out of 182 countries.

Transparency International PNG director, Peter Aitsi, says people are angered by scandals and an inquiry into corruption that had not been acted on by the government.

He said there is a growing community concern and anger over unresolved issues before parliament and the breakdown of parliamentary process.

The rally was organised by PNG's Community Coalition Against Corruption, church groups and student bodies, along with members of opposition political parties.