POLICE will not allow students at the University of Technology (Unitech) to stage protests in Lae, a senior police officer says.
Lae police operations superintendant Inspector Timothy Pomoso said while they respected the rights of students as citizens of the country to hold public forums, it was not the right time for marches given the tension around the country.
The country experienced unprecedented violence on Wednesday after police shot and injured a number of protesting students at the University of Papua New Guinea in the nation’s capital.
Pomoso told The National yesterday that the Unitech students-led street protest in Lae would create a possible civil unrest and chaos if outsiders and opportunists joined in.
“Students can hold forums at their campus but they will not be allowed to come outside,” Pomoso said.
“The situation can get out of hand if we allow them (students) to come on the streets because they will be joined by opportunists and other people with vested interests,” he said.
“Police will not stand by and allow opportunists or student groups to disturb public peace and order.”
Pomoso said Lae Metropolitan Superintendant Anthony Wagambie Jr urged police officers to be careful when handling firearms and discharge shots only when it was absolutely necessary.
“They (police officers) have been advised that they are to fire only when they are facing a life-threatening situation or as a last resort,” he said.
Pomoso said police in Lae had a different modus operandi (mode of operating) from Port Moresby police and they had not shot at students despite provocations experienced by their field officers on Wednesday.
Pomoso said more than 300 police officers from the Lae metropolitan command were engaged in operations around the city yesterday.