13 Jul 2005

Papua New Guinea police refuse students permission to march on parliament

1:09 pm on 13 July 2005

Papua New Guinea police have refused to allow university students in Port Moresby to march to Parliament today in protest over a dispute with the university management.

This follows up to 300 students at the University of Papua New Guinea setting light to two university cars and a motorbike as they waited to meet with the vice-chancellor over a grading policy they say is unfair.

Armed police were called to the university as a result of the protest.

Port Moresby police chief, Assistant Commissioner Tony Wagambie, says students are boycotting classes until the grading matter is addressed.

But, he says the university hasn't backed down and the deputy prime minister, Sir Moi Avei, used national television yesterday to say the government is standing with the university administration.

Mr Wagambie says he ruled out the students marching on parliament today.

"They said they were still not happy with what the Vice-Chancellor said, so they asked me if they could march to Parliament today, and we asked the leaders to come to the police station yesterday afternoon for us to arrange for that march, and we told them that today it's not possible."

Mr Wagambie says he's waiting to hear from the students about when they would like to form a delegation to present a petition to MPs.