PNG government backflips on visa on arrival decision
Women of the revolution: female students from UPNG defy police

Armed police on UPNG campus in attempt to end student boycott


AS armed police in troop carriers moved on to the campus of the University of Papua New Guinea before dawn this morning, prime minister Peter O’Neill was providing the clearest sign that as long as he is around no dissent will be brooked.

Yesterday, the PNG electoral commission had invalidated student voting which seemed to legitimate boycotts on classes at a number of universities.

The boycotts began three weeks ago at UPNG in an effort to compel O’Neill to stand down in the face of corruption allegations against him.

This commission’s action is interpreted as an exercise of political influence that casts a shadow over the prospects of a free and fair general election which is due next year.

Meanwhile,the university’s vice chancellor, Albert Mellam, has issued a notice saying that the Waigani and Taurama (medical) campuses have been sealed to “secure the safety of staff and students due to increased activities by some students that border on criminality”.

The vice-chancellor, whose command of English suffered in his haste to issue the instruction, added that “police is called upon to exercise ots constitutional duty to protect lievs and properties.”

Mellam said “the arrangement will restore normalcy and students will return to classes immediately”.

Mellam did not make it clear exactly how police will ensure that students return to classes.

Activist Noel Anjo who observed the invasion of the UPNG campus said it is time for students’ parents to protest.


“We are not criminals,” a student told Loop PNG. “We didn’t break any laws. Our only intention was not to attend class.”


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Michael Dom

At least one UPNG student, after bumming around for some time, went on to become a world class poet.

But many, many more students went on to become the selfish, self-serving, schmucks who have done their best to take care of themselves but sadly failed to rise above the mediocrity of their existence.

They need to get a real life.

Michael Yapis

I remember some strikes during my years at uni. Very much regret. The student leaders went on to become politicians. Most missed out completely.

Marcus Mapen

No jobs for university graduates in a corrupted and bankrupt economy
Fight or suffer and die in silence
Fight now or fight when it’s too late
No pain no gain

Daniel Kumbon

Yesterday I bought a small 'Clouring Book to cool the mind' from the secondhand bookshop here in Wabag for my small daughter. In it I was surprised to find some quotes from some ordinary Australians.

One Sandra James from Heathcore, Victoria said: 'A year from now you will wish you had started today.'

Another from Sharryn Foster of Kirwan, Oueensland says 'People may forget what you said or what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel."

Have courage students, have courage and believe in your individual selfs.

Barbara Short

This reminds me of what I had to put up with in 1981 during the Keravat NHS riots. The Headmaster of Keravat NHS collapsed and I, as the deputy, had to take over.

The police moved in and I set them up in one of the classrooms. We organised to send all students home for their holidays for a few weeks to cool off.

Some of the staff had been encouraging the students and they were very much against me. I had to discipline the students but at the same time show that I cared for them and wanted to see them achieve good marks in their exams.

When the students returned I encouraged them to settle down and concentrate on their studies. Some of them are now holding top jobs today throughout PNG. Some probably regret the riots and have never achieved what they wanted. I sorted out their grievances in other ways.

Last year O'Neill did a good job sending in people like Joseph Sukwianomb and Dr.John Kola to get Goroka University up and running again.

As I said at the start of this tension, I think the matter of the Paraka case should have been left to the law courts and if people wanted to get rid of O'Neill they should have left it to the next elections.

I do not agree with the tactics of using students to achieve the overthrow of the government. It is such a waste.

There are enough people in the parliament who know how they could bring down O'Neill. When they wake up they might. But in the meantime the students are the scapegoats.

Chris Overland

So, what now? Will students be herded to lectures at gun point?

Do Commissioner Baki & VC Mellam seriously think this is doing the RPNGC & UPNG anything other than more reputational harm?

Whatever their "cunning plan" is to suppress student dissent, history strongly suggests that the most likely result is that they will merely exacerbate the situation. Even success will have long term adverse consequences, leaving a legacy of bitterness and suspicion on campus.

I hope that the students can remain resolute and "maintain the rage" long enough to finally trigger some action by those good and honest Papua New Guineans who know that their so-called leaders have betrayed them.

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