7 Nov 2011

PNG Prime Minister may declare state of emergency

11:15 am on 7 November 2011

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is warning he may have to declare a state of emergency in Lae following several days of rioting.

The ABC reports that at least two people have died in the violence, which has crippled PNG's main industrial centre over the past four days.

Rioting began on Thursday after a group of local youths gathered to present a petition on the level of crime in the city to the provincial government.

Mr O'Neill says he understands the concerns of the rioting youths, but condemns the way they have expressed them.

He says he will declare a state of emergency today if the violence has not stopped.

Police say the situation is now tense but calm and they're hoping businesses and schools that have been shut since Thursday will be able to reopen.