26 Jul 2005

Violents clashes but PNG Government says it will not give in to pressure groups

8:24 pm on 26 July 2005

The Papua New Guinea government says it won't respond to pressure groups behind violent student protests at the country's main university.

Gunmen torched vehicles and threw petrol bombs during a four-hour clash with 60 police at the Port Moresby campus, which ended without a single arrest.

Students claim they were forced to lie face down before being assaulted by armed police and later rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

The director general of the office of higher education, William Tagis, says the government's inquiry into the unrest will begin once the terms of reference of it are announced this week.

"We are also concerned that the longer the announcement is delayed it could incite persons, but I think the government has to be careful that it doesn't respond to certain pressure groups. It has to be allowed to carry out its inquiry under its own terms."

This is the second violent outbreak at the university in the past fortnight.

Students have been boycotting classes in protest at the institution's new grading system.