26 Apr 2012

PNG police warn against further anti-government protests

12:41 pm on 26 April 2012

The police commander in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, says he will come down hard on unions and civil society groups if any more protest marches are held in the city.

Rallies have been staged over the past two days to raise concerns about controversial government policies but police have stopped any marches, with the protestors confined to a park near parliament.

The National Capital District commander, Superintendent Peter Guiness, says unions have been reported as saying water and power services will be shut down at strategic locations if the government does not respond favourably to their demands by today.

The protestors want legislation curbing the powers of judges rescinded and a firm commitment that elections due in June will not be delayed.

Superintendent Guiness says the protestors need to be putting their efforts into educating and preparing people for the elections rather than disrupting services in the city.

The prime minister Peter O'Neill is expected to meet the president of the Trades Union Congress, Michael Malabag, today to discuss the union body's concerns.