Report and picture by JEFFREY ELAPA
HUNDREDS of men, women and children marched through the main Modilon Street in Madang to the provincial government office to petition the Government to address law and order problems in the province.
This protest is the second in a week against the rise in crime in Madang.
Earlier, police and the provincial administration stopped the second protest march, but Governor Sir Arnold Amet instructed the administrator to allow the group to express their rights to freedom of speech and protests.
The protest march, led by civil society groups and churches, began at the Laiwaden Oval, with the marchers all wearing black, at 10am and by noon, the group numbering more than 500 walked chanting “Stopim rape, stop rape”.
The march also coincided with the International Human Rights Day.
The protesters demanded that police reveal the names of the perpetrators involved in the criminal attack on Madang’s prominent woman leader last week, and that their parents be identified.
They also called for the death penalty for those convicted of the attack.
In a short-term approach, the marchers petitioned that a curfew be imposed immediately in Madang for a period of three months, and called for the removal of illegal settlers.
Sir Arnold, who received the petition, told the protesters that there was no quick fix to the problems.
He said there was a need for moral and spiritual discipline and everyone needed to be committed to address the issue.
“Prison, police or capital punishment is not the answer to any law and order problems.
“Community commitment and support that could see us make a change in our community is what we need,” he said.