Posted By Staff Reporter
NCD Governor Powes Parkop has received a petition from protesting University of Papua New Guinean students.
The governor was accompanied to the UPNG campus by his colleague NCD national parliamentarians Justin Tkatchenko (Moresby South), Labi Amaiu (Moresby Northeast) as well as policemen.
It is understood Mr Parkop is now on his way to the National Parliament to meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and to present the students’ petition.
The students have been boycotting classes and protesting for the last three weeks, in a bid to get Mr O’Neill to step down and to present himself at a police interview, despite pleas from the university administration and political leaders for them to return to classes.
Early this week the university senate asked the police to enter and maintain a presence on the campus, following reports there were students who wanted to return to classes but were threatened.
But observers at the UPNG campus this morning say the students are resolute in their determination to hold the country’s political leadership to account, there were signs of solidarity amongst the students.
The UPNG Waigani campus has become the epicenter for student activism in the last three weeks with representatives from other universities flying over to show their support and pledge their support. Students at the University of Technology in Lae, the University of Goroka and the University of Natural Resources and Environment in East New Britain have agreed to jointly support their UPNG colleagues.
National doctors and nurses – through the National Doctors Association and PNG Nurses Association – pledged their support for the protesting students yesterday in a major boost to the movement.
Other health sector unions including the Community Health Workers Union, Allied Health Workers Association, PNG Health Support Workers Union, Health Extension Officers Association, Medical Laboratory Technicians Association and Environment Health Association have also supported the position of the doctors and nurses.
Pictures from the students gathering today at the UPNG campus also showed a group from the Port Moresby Technical College (POMTECH) outside the national capital with a large banner and moving to the forum square in a show of support for their peers.
It is believed POMTECH is the first technical college to come out publicly in support of the protesting students, which could open the door for other colleges in NCD and other main urban centres.
The number of students and members of the public at the UPNG forum square area today could not be ascertained with blog posts and social media postings putting the figure close to 3000 in attendance. Post courier / PNGfacts / Photo : upng4png
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