UPNG students condemn police presence on campus

5:18 pm on 18 May 2016

Students at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) have dismissed allegations in local media that their protests are driven by a minority group.

Students protest at the University of Papua New Guinea

Students protest at the University of Papua New Guinea Photo: Facebook

This is the third week that students have boycotted classes as they demand the prime minister Peter O'Neill resign and face allegations of corruption.

Yesterday, heavily armed police entered the UPNG's main Waigani campus after the university leadership said the students' activities bordered on criminality.

There have been no reports of arrests.

A student leader, Hercules Jim, said despite the police presence, students continued to boycott classes and would again go into Port Moresby to make the public aware of their cause.

He said allegations that they were not united were false.

"This is not true and the media are very biased, especially two of our newspapers are very biased in this. The majority of the students are with the protest, almost 99 percent.

"Now when you look at it, the classrooms, the lecture rooms are open. The students are asked to go to classrooms. But even with the presence of the police, the students are not attending classes."

Hercules Jim said this morning police had started taking down the national and provincial flags, posters and tents set up around the campus by students as part of the peaceful protest.

UPNG says protesters committed crimes on campus

The University of Papua New Guinea says police were called onto the campus due to crimes committed by protesters and their intimidation of fellow students.

UPNG director of public relations James Robins said the actions of a militant group of students necessitated the police presence.

"Break and enters into offices, we've had the theft of property, the use of weapons to threaten staff and students.

"In particular one of our pro vice-chancellors was held up with bush knives and his vehicle taken off him. The assault of university support staff, the intimidation of students who wish to continue their studies and the barricading of public thoroughfares."

Mr Robins said the university's Academic Senate Standing Committee invited the police onto campus to ensure the safety of staff and students.

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