Soldiers and police are patrolling the streets of Port Moresby as people join long lines for fuel after Papua New Guinea declared a state of emergency in response to a mass outbreak of rioting and violence. Source: SBS News.
Prime Minister James Marape declared a 14-day state of emergency late on Thursday, suspending several officials and putting more than 1000 soldiers on standby after a police and public sector protest over pay on Wednesday descended into rioting and looting that killed at least 20 people.
The city had returned to a “new normal” on Friday morning, with police and soldiers on the streets and long lines at petrol stations, according to Matt Cannon, who heads the local branch of emergency response service St John Ambulance.
The unrest was sparked when police and other public servants went on strike on Wednesday over a pay cut that officials later blamed on an administrative glitch.
Within hours, thousands thronged the streets looting and rioting against a backdrop of smoke and burning buildings.
A mob also tried to break through the gates outside the Prime Minister’s office.
Fifteen people were killed in the rioting in capital city Port Moresby and five were killed in Lae, in the country’s north, according to PNG Police deputy commissioner of specialist operations Donald Yamasombi. He said there will be a thorough investigation.
“I would like to give confidence to our members of the police force as well as the citizens of this country that we will get to the bottom of this issue to ensure this incident does not happen again,” he said.
‘Everything at a standstill’: Quiet streets after PNG declares emergency (AAP via SBS News)