PNG police said to have fired without provocation
The conduct of Papua New Guinea's police personnel during yesterday's unrest in Port Moresby has come under the spotlight, with another eyewitness account that they started shooting without provocation.
The conduct of Papua New Guinea's police personnel in Wednesday's unrest when police opened fire on hundreds of university students in Waigani has come under the spotlight.
The police commissioner Gary Baki has released a statement, placing some blame on the students for provoking the unrest by throwing stones at the policemen.
Our correspondent Rose Amos was on hand at the campus when the unrest escalated.
She told Johnny Blades that the students were orderly and in no way provoked the police.
ROSE AMOS: I was there in the midsts. I see there was no provocation (by) students. The students organised themselves in an orderly manner and they were just preparing themselves to march through the street. But unfortunately, some policemen just decided to just open fire and that's when everything escalated and went out of control. And then the students were shot. A lot of females were dragged, kicked, punched, I was there, I watched everything that happened. And it turned really bad. About twenty-three (injured) according to the reports we got from the Port Moresby General Hospital and the nearby clinic at Gerehu, about twenty-three went to the hospital to get treatment. And out of those twenty-three about 4 were critically injured.
JOHNNY BLADES: Am I right in saying, as yet, no one confirmed dead?
RA: No. A lot of the students were injured but there's no confirmed deaths as yet.
JB: According to the police commissioner's own statement, there's about five critically injured. This is a heavy-handed response. And you also had some trouble, you said you were assaulted?
RA: Oh yes, because I was there as a journalist with the National Broadcasting Corporation. I covered these issues, it's the 5th week of student boycotting class, and I was a journalist covering this story. So I went there early in the morning to do my normal job and then when open fire took place and they chased the students back into the campus, unfortunately I was among those that were injured, and I was beaten by some policemen I did not identify at this time, but there were a lot of them. They punched me, kicked me, dragged me so I had to run for my cover and then a senior police officer rescued me to one of the police vehicles, and that's when I hoped for my health.
JB: Why did they do that? Did they think you were a student or did they know you were a journalist?
RA: I don't think they had mistaken me because I was there with them. I was wearing my NBC shirt, identifying myself as a journalist and I was taking pictures and recording the noise and everything there. They saw me. But I'm not really sure why they had to do that. It's just the normal behaviour of the police, I would say.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: