During severe riots and violence in Papua New Guinea, at least eight people died

Papua New Guinea emergency due to riots
Papua New Guinea emergency due to riots | Image Credit: edition.cnn.com

Major riots and disturbances struck Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, resulting in the deaths of at least eight people.

Following a police strike over a salary disagreement, stores were robbed, automobiles and shops were set on fire. On Wednesday, hundreds of people had come to the streets.

Following the incident, Prime Minister James Marape declared to the country that lawlessness would not be allowed. “There are no guarantees when breaking the law,” he informed the public on Thursday.

Even while the most of the rioting had subsided by Wednesday night, Mr. Marape noted that “it’s still tense out there.” The army has been called in to maintain order.

An previous statement from a local authority said that “opportunists” were mostly responsible for the crime.

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In a radio speech on Wednesday, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop stated, “We have seen unprecedented level of strife in our city, something that has never happened before in the history of our city and our country,” as per a Reuters report.

Although he did not provide a death toll, he did admit that “some people sadly lost their life today”.

Regional media stated that the Port Moresby General Hospital had verified eight deaths.

severe riots and violence in Papua New Guinea - 8 dead
Image credit: bbc.com | severe riots and violence in Papua New Guinea – 8 dead

Outside of the capital, the violence had also spread; according to local authorities, seven more people had killed in the city of Lae. It was unknown how bad things had become in Papua New Guinea’s second-biggest city.

After learning that their salary had been cut by up to 50%, police officers and other public employees went on strike outside the parliament on Wednesday, sparking the disturbance.

According to Prime Minister James Marape, a computer malfunction resulted in the deduction of up to $100 from public personnel’ paychecks; nonetheless, the government was not hiking taxes, as some demonstrators had alleged.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Marape stated, “Social media picked up on this wrong information, misinformation,” and that individuals had taken advantage of the fact that the police were off the streets.

Large crowds and widespread looting were seen on TV. Among the structures set on fire was a sizable retail complex.

Several gunshot injuries were responded to by ambulance authorities, and gunfire was reported close to the US embassy’s compound.

The PNG government has received a complaint from the Chinese embassy as well, stating that many Chinese companies were attacked and some Chinese nationals were hurt, however they did not disclose how many.

“The Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea has lodged solemn representations with the Papua New Guinea side over the attacks on the Chinese shops,” it stated on WeChat.

Australia, a close neighbour and important security ally of Papua New Guinea, issued a calm appeal on Thursday.

After meeting with the Premier of Australia last month, Mr. Marape has not yet requested assistance from the nation for peacekeeping.

The prime minister has been under more criticism during his nation’s economic downturn, which has resulted in greater rates of unemployment and inflation. The opposition has been attempting to remove him from office through a vote of no confidence.

Analysts claim that the turmoil in the capital, which is home to roughly 400,000 people, on Wednesday was caused by the general discontent among the populace.

According to PNG Think Tank analyst Samson Komati, “the events of today in Port Moresby [are] manifesting and revealing the inner social and economic pains and suffering of police, military, and other public servants of PNG, as well as all workers and ordinary people,” the ABC was told.