Papua New Guinea, protests and deaths: state of emergency declared

A 14-day state of emergency has been declared in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, following the violence that broke out yesterday during a police strike. The current toll is 15 dead and over a thousand soldiers have been deployed to “intervene where necessary” pursuant to the emergency decree announced by Prime Minister James Marape. According to what was reported by the police commissioner, David Manning, eight of the victims died in Port Moresby during last night’s clashes and seven others died in the city of Lae.

Police department heads suspended

The protest broke out over a freeze on police salaries, which the government later said was due to a technical error. For this reason, police and prison officers took to the streets: in a few hours the riots also infected civilians and spread to the town of Lae, 300 kilometers from the capital. During last night’s clashes in the capital, shops, cars and buildings were set on fire and supermarkets were looted. Early today the Prime Minister addressed the nation saying that lawlessness would not be tolerated. “Breaking the law does not lead to certain results,” Marape said. Four heads of the departments involved in the affair – those in charge of the police, finance, personnel and treasury – were suspended for 14 days.