What we know about the riots in Papua New Guinea

At least 15 people in Papua New Guinea have been reported dead after police staged a protest over pay cuts.

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Ruins of shops that e=were torched in the Wednesday Papua New Guinea violence - Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corp/AP

A protest by the police in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday resulted in widespread destruction of shops and properties, as well as the death of several citizens.

On Wednesday, January 10, the police, protesting against the government for unjust 50% pay cuts, declined to carry out their duties.The Prime Minister of the Oceanian country, James Marape, explained that the reduction of salary was a result of an error in the state’s payroll system and assured it would be rectified on the next payday.

Unsatisfied with this response, the police in Papua New Guinea marched to the National Parliament House, where “opportunists” took over and torched vehicles, subsequently looting some shops. The military and police, who resumed duty in the evening of Wednesday, prevented the situation from escalating. But according to Prime Minister Marape the atmosphere remained tense.

The General Hospital of Port Moresby, the capital of the island nation, confirmed that 8 people had died at the hospital after violence erupted in the country, while seven were reported to have died in Lae.

Economic Unrest

The economic situation of the Pacific Island nation is currently concerning, with citizens decrying the high cost of living and unemployment. Wednesday’s unrest saw the resignation of at least six lawmakers, as reported by Radio New Zealand.

The resignations have triggered a nationwide call led by former MP James Nomane for the Prime Minister to resign. “James Marape must resign. The crisis is a combination and a groundswell of enmity from our people in public service that emanates from the total economic mismanagement,” said Nomane, who is part of Marape’s party, the Papua and Niugini Union Party (Pangu), and served as the Vice Minister of National Planning.

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