FRANCIS SINA NII
REMONSTRATION AGAINST THE ASYLUM deal between Australia and PNG reached a new height on Friday with students of the University of PNG staging a protest march against the deal.
The students attempted to stage a protest march to the Australian High Commission and the National Parliament but were stopped from proceeding by armed police.
They were concerned about the manner in which the asylum seeker deal was signed, saying it was never debated publicly and that is not in the best interests of PNG.
UPNG students’ representative council president Peter Nunu said the deal undermines PNG’s sovereignty as an independent nation. He said students will do all they can to stop the arrangement even if it means mobilising the whole student body, civil society and unions in PNG.
“At all costs university students, I as the President of the National Union of University Students and University of Papua New Guinea, will protect our people, will protect our nation, will fight to the end.
“Until the prime minister Peter O’Neill inclines to remove the deal, the entire student body, civil society and NGOs will make sure Kevin Rudd removes this deal. And we’ll make it happen,” Mr Nunu said.
Since Australia and PNG signed the asylum deal on 19 July, it has been reported that 18 boats have arrived on Australian shores carrying a total of 1,452 asylum seekers.
Would this be an indication of the futility of Rudd’s hard line approach to deter boat people from entering Australian shores?
In another interesting piece of news, the first group of 40 adult male asylum seekers was snagged by bad weather. Could this also be an omen of a looming cataclysm for the deal?