The police chief in Eastern Highlands in Papua New Guinea has defended his officers firing at students during a protest in Goroka.
The Goroka University students have reportedly been demanding the resignation of the vice chancellor by staging sit-ins on the campus for nearly three weeks but on Thursday took to the streets of the town.
Several people were hurt but the provincial police commander, Superintendent John Kale, says none of them were hit by gunfire as has been reported.
But he says officers had no choice but to use their guns to disperse a protest that he had already told the organisers was illegal.
"You only have a handful of policemen and just imagine the number of students walking on the street. You cannot stop them with your word of mouth or a baton. And the general public in Goroka were also taking sides. They joined the students and they started throwing stones and other missiles at the policemen."
John Kale puts the number of protesting students at about 1,000.
The Post Courier has reported two students were hospitalised after being shot in the protests.