Arrests in provincial PNG as student protests spread

9:20 am on 31 May 2016
Students at the University of Papua New Guinea have been boycotting classes in protest at the Prime Minister refusing to stand down.

Students at the University of Papua New Guinea have been boycotting classes in protest at the Prime Minister refusing to stand down. Photo: Supplied / UPNG4PNG

Reports from Papua New Guinea say police in Wewak arrested 18 students yesterday for holding an "awareness campaign" linked to ongoing protests against the prime minister.

Large groups of students from Unitech and the University of PNG have been touring the provinces to raise awareness about the grievances behind their call for Peter O'Neill to stand down and answer fraud allegations.

Yesterday's arrests in Wewak came after the East Sepik police commander, Peter Philips, said the students had been causing a commotion and unlawfully assembling in the township area.

The provincial governor and former PNG prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, subsequently went to negotiate with the provincial police commander for the release of the students.

Sir Michael is understood to have covered the students' bail of almost US$3,000, with members of the public also helping out.

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