Posted By Staff Reporter
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called for calm after student - Police confrontation today that saw many students injured in Police shoot out.
"I know students have been shot but we are still trying to determine whether there have been deaths and how many have been injured," she said.
"We call on all sides for calm to deescalate the tensions and certainly call on all sides to respect the peaceful and lawful right to protest.
The Federal Government has confirmed all of the Australian Federal Police officers deployed in PNG have been accounted for.
The students have been protesting for five weeks against Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's handling of corruption allegations and management of the economy.
They said about 1,000 of them had tried to board buses at 7:00am to hold a peaceful demonstration outside the PNG Parliament, but were stopped by police.
When they tried to march to Parliament instead, they said a line of police blocked their path and demanded they hand over the student union president for arrest.
The students refused and said police then opened fire directly into the crowd.
The acting chancellor of UPNG, Dr Nicholas Mann, told Pacific Beat he did not know the full details of what happened.
"I understand that police have not given them the clearance or approval to do [march on Parliament], so when there is defiance of lawful instruction there is bound to be consequences," he said.
But Ms Yalo said the march had been approved by authorities.
"It was kind of confusing because the previous day they said it was OK," she said.
Albert Schram, the vice-chancellor of PNG University of Technology in the country's second largest city, Lae, said about 2,000 students and staff had been locked on campus with a police car at the gates.
He told Pacific Beat the police fired in the air when students pushed on the gates, but added the situation remained calm.
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