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PNG: UPNG students give ‘patriotic’ ultimatum to PM O’Neill

National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop (second from left) meets students at the University of Papua New Guinea on the Waigani campus yesterday. Image: Citizen Journalist/APR

Friday, May 20, 2016

Item: 9668

Carmella Gware
PORT MORESBY (Loop PNG/Pacific Media Watch): Students at the University of Papua New Guinea have given Prime Minister Peter O’Neill 24-hours to respond “favourably” to their petition or they say they will stage a mass withdrawal.

National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop, a former UPNG lecturer, received the petition from Students Representative Council (SRC) president Kenneth Rapa yesterday afternoon.

“We petition the Prime Minister to respect the Office of the Prime Minister and step down,” Rapa told more than 5600 UPNG students, more than 150 Port Moresby Technical College male students and hundreds of concerned citizens.

“We are not motivated by any political party, government, opposition or any individual. We are moved by our patriotic, nationalistic spirit to see a better nation tomorrow. That’s all.

"We have not been taking bribes and violence has not been happening on campus," the UPNG president said.

Classrooms were open but the students themselves were exercising their democratic rights by deciding to forego classes, he said.

Parkop commended the students for maintaining their peaceful sit-in protest despite widespread predictions of violence.

'Proud of you students'
“I’m proud of you students,” he said. “You have the right to raise your voice when you see that something has gone wrong, and we as mandated leaders have the responsibility to listen.”

The NCD governor was accompanied by Sports Minister and Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko, sports Vice-Minister and Moresby North-East MP Labi Amaiu, NCD police metropolitan superintendent Ben Turi, Bomana police Commandant Perou N’Dranou and acting superintendent of operations Brian Kombe.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill later acknowledged receiving a petition from the UPNG students. It was delivered to him by Governor Parkop, the prime minister said in a media statement.

“There are several assertions that are made in the petition for which a considered and detailed brief will be prepared and presented to the UPNG SRC.

“Considering that several of these matters are before the courts, comment must be carefully considered so as to not undermine court proceedings."

Read full story and other news, pictures and video at Asia Pacific Report


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