SEVERAL Labu women are nursing bruises to their heads and bodies after Lae police hit them with the coconuts they were selling near the Lae wharf, Labu-Buttu councillor Jeffrey Tipi said at the weekend.
Mr Tipi said the women were selling their green coconuts at the Labu canoe landing site at the former Aigris market when they were set upon by police.
He said police threw most of the coconuts into the sea while using some to hit the women.
Mr Tipi condemned the actions of the police as illegal and called for an investigation by the police chiefs in Lae.
He said he had personally gone to Lae police to lay an official complaint but the officer in charge of taking public complaints was not available.
“Aigris market remains the official canoe landing site for the Labu people as agreed upon with the project management unit (PMU) of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) until a proper canoe landing site will be built for them by the Government.
“Until then, Labu women should be free to sell their coconuts and other produce at the Aigris market without being attack by law enforcement bodies like police or harassment by private security personnel, “Mr Tipi said.
Entrance into the Aigris had been blocked off on instructions from IPBC and security guards from two Lae-based security companies were watching over the area.
However, Mr Tipi called on IPBC to remove the blockage and allow the Labu people to move freely in and out of the area.
“Labu people are still waiting for IPBC to build us a new canoe landing site and the Minister responsible Arthur Somare has not informed us of what he is doing about this,” Mr Tipi said.
“I call on IPBC and Lae police to remove their presence from Aigris market as it belongs to the Labu people and only Labu people have the right to use it and nobody else,” Mr Tipi said.