By DULCIE OREKE and BARNEY ORERE PONDROS
NOEL Anjo, the man who led a protest march that sparked riots in May, is against violence and is not responsible for a “hate email” that calls for a shutdown of all Asian-owned cottage businesses by Dec 31.
The deadline is two days away, and police are working to establish the source of the email, who faces prosecution if identified.
The email, which calls for a shutdown or destruction to Asian-owned cottage businesses, has many people and businesses, both local and foreign, very worried.
The “hate email” that has been in circulation shortly after the anti-Asian riots in May purports that “the grassroots” will take to the streets to ensure any Asian-owned shops “must and will come to a total stop”.
Mr Anjo, the man who many believe was the source of the email because of his central role in a peaceful march, protesting Asians owning cottage businesses, which turned nasty, has refuted he has a hand in the email.
In the presence of police chiefs and media personnel yesterday, Mr Anjo distanced himself from the email and said “heaven knows, I am not the source of the email and I do not know the source”.
Mr Anjo, proclaimed president of the umbrella NGO/civil society coalition partners group was adamant of his stand against violence, despite his agenda that Asians should not own cottage businesses.
His previous peaceful protest march in Port Moresby, consequently led to opportunists taking to the streets, looting and vandalising Asian-owned shops nationwide.
It also sparked public debate and eventually prompted Parliament to set up a committee investigating the riots and the issue.
But Mr Anjo denounced the May riots and urged others who share similar agendas that proper channels were in place to address issues and resorting to violence “was not” a valid option.
He also assured police, the public, stakeholders and particularly Asian-owned businesses that his organisation would not undertake any protests on Thursday and would not be a party to any other protest.
The police are not taking the email lightly and will come down heavy on instigators and are confident calm will prevail.
Police welcomed the stand by Mr Anjo and said they were in touch with the community and NGO leaders in Port Moresby and around PNG.
Most have distanced themselves from the email and vowed to assist police investigations into the matter.
Police also reiterate organisations advocating development issues affecting the country must use proper means to express their views.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Raphael Huafolo, in condemning the barrage of threats, said “police will do everything within our means and ability to ensure there is no uprising against Asian-owned businesses as propagated by the email”.
“The threats widely circulated through emails are unlawful and we will vigorously trace the source and arrest the perpetrators,” he warned.
Mr Huafolo said police were extremely concerned because the email had caused undue stress and anxiety in the minds of entrepreneurs, public and private sector workers and ordinary people nationwide.
“As a nation, we all have a moral and social obligation of upholding law and order in our society,” Mr Huafolo said.
“I call on all NGO groups, advocates and individuals wishing to petition the Government to use peaceful means to avoid violence and mayhem,” he added.
The concern is that the majority of people living in the settlements, suburbs and towns are disadvantaged because many of them are illiterate and are gullible to all forms of gossips and propaganda.
“Such threats will attract opportunists and crime, and, therefore, I am appealing to allow peace and good order to thrive in our communities,” Mr Huafolo said.
Police commissioner Gari Baki has already issued directives for police to stop all protest marches.
The reason is that police did not intend to suppress people’s democratic rights from violent uprisings stemmed from unlawful gatherings.