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Support Anti-IMF And World Bank Protestors In PNG

[m1-2k01] solidarity with PNG activists statement

Support anti-IMF and World Bank protestors in Papua New Guinea

On the early morning of Tuesday 26 of June 2001, PNG police teargassed and opened fire on students protesting against the IMF and World Bank, resulting in 3 dead and 17 wounded. The violence followed a five day peaceful sit-in by up to 3000 University of PNG students, workers, and unemployed outside the office of Prime Minister of PNG, Mekere Morauta in Waigani, about 10 km from central Port Moresby. The demonstrators presented a petition to the Government calling for

a.. suspend the entire privatisation scheme
b.. completely severe ties with the World Bank and IMF
c.. Scrap the customary land registration scheme and
d.. If the above are not implemented, the Prime Minister should resign or face a more serious protest with detrimental consequences. The protestors had remained in order to get a response from the government. After the crowd had dwindled to several hundred, police closed in and told them to disperse. When they refused, tear gas was used and shotguns and automatic weapons fired.

By first light when news of the shooting spread people streamed into Waigana, looting, burning and stoning as they went.

Shops, schools and government offices were closed for the day, and the streets of the capital deserted except for some students and police. Trade unions issued a call for Morauta to step down. They also threatened to close ports, shut down the national flag carrier Air Nuigini and disrupt power supplies.

The following day, Port Moresby University campus was surrounded by police, in order to keep most of the students contained.

This comes as a result of the IMF and World Banks' instruction to the government of PNG to sell off the Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation which is the only bank owned by the government, and to be followed by the privatisation of the national airline, Air New Guinea. Over the past three years PNG's water supplies and electricity have been sold off in a hope to bail the country out of the economic crisis. However the economy of the country has continued to deteriorate.

These protests follow on from ones earlier this year when students marched to murray barracks to support troops who had seized weapons and were also demanding that the World Bank should leave PNG, along with the government's Australian advisers.

Alexander Downer, Australian Foreign Affairs minister has not condemned the PNG police for the shootings and he has reaffirmed the Australian government's total support for the privatisation program.

These protests are a clear sign of the rejection of the influence of the IMF and World Bank into PNG. As supporters of the fight against these international financial institutions, protests have been initiated across Australia to actively build solidarity with the PNG activists struggle against the IMF and World Bank, and the lethal tactics used by police to disperse protestors, resulting in 3 dead and 17 wounded.

We demand:

a.. IMF and World Bank out of PNG
b.. End privatisation
c.. Abolish the IMF, WTO and World Bank
d.. That the Australian government condemn the violence against protestors in PNG
e.. That the Australian government give massively increased unconditional aid for development in PNG Endorsed by:


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