Following rioting in central Madang in Papua New Guinea yesterday, the provincial police commander says trouble escalated when opportunists mixed with protestors whose march had been disallowed.
The rioting, which descended into looting of shops in central Madang, was sparked amid a march organised reportedly to protest against land grabs and capitalism.
Asian-owned shops were targetted, and a number of people seriously injured, including one student-age male who police say died in hospital after being shot.
Businesses and schools in Madang quickly closed.
Madang's police commander Sylvester Kalaut says he had already denied the march organisers approval to proceed with their event but people gathered anyway.
"But the march did not eventuate because I sent the police to stop them. but as they were congregating, news of that march had already spread out into the settlements and other suburbs within the town. So you had opportunists coming round and while they were congregating there, they started looting the shops in town.
Sylvester Kalaut says as many as five hundred people were involved with the rioting.