Eviction looms for University of PNG students
Students at the University of Papua New Guinea have been given a deadline to end their month long protest and leave the Port Moresby campus.
Students at the University of Papua New Guinea have until five o'clock this evening (NZ time) to end their month long protest and leave the Port Moresby campus.
That ultimatum was issued on Monday by the University which suspended the first semester after about five thousand students occupied the campus and boycotted classes.
The students are demanding PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill step down to face corruption allegations.
Ben Robinson-Drawbridge reports.
The University of Papua New Guinea's public relations manager James Robins says students who don't leave the campus by the deadline will be evicted.
That will then be a matter for the internal security to address and failing that if necessary we would request assistance from one of the external forces which would undoubtedly be the police.
One of the student leaders Hercules Jim warned the police may use force as the protesters wont back down.
Police will obviously move in. But we have contained the situation without any violence, without any harm and without the destruction of any properties. We are not able to back down. Without this, if we didn't give a fight, our nation will not be a nation anymore.
Five weeks of the first semester have been lost, but the university hopes to reincorporate that time into an extended academic year.
The PNG minister of Higher Education Malakai Tabar says the semester can be salvaged.
The University and the administration of the university needs to organise itself to salvage the semester. If nothing is done within the next few weeks we can forget the whole year. You have to be around when the university calls you up for re-enrollment you must enroll. If you are not there you've made yourself unavailable, you've lost your scholarship, end of the story.
About 50 doctors may be not be able to graduate if the academic year is disrupted, but the General Secretary of the PNG Doctors Association, Sam Yockopua says his organisation supports the students.
Number one, we have demanded the Prime Minister to resign immediately. Number two, we have asked the other unions in the private and public sectors to join forces and ally with us support the students. Number three we have called on the parents of the university students and the general Papua New Guineans to rise up, stand united and support the university students because they are not fighting for their own benefit they are fighting for Papua New Guinea as a whole.
The police issued an arrest warrant for the Prime Minister over two years ago in relation to his role in allegedly illegal state payments of about 45 million dollars to a law firm.
Peter O'Neill was able to stay the warrant through the courts, but the leader of the opposition Sam Basil says public dissent cannot be ignored.
And now it's the public that is asking the Prime Minister to step down and rightly as the public now realises that the opposition was all along correct in what we were saying. we in the opposition are still adamant and are sharing the same view as the public and the students that the Prime Minister should step down and cir-cum himself to the laws of the land.
Sam Basil says it will be in the best interests of PNG if the students are able to block their eviction through the courts.
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