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Riots break out in Port Moresby

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Riots broke out in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday after a protest of public service workers in Port Moresby.
Papua New Guinea riots

Multiple people have died after protests turned violent in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Defence forces were called to the capital of Port Moresby after gunshots, looting and explosions erupted in the city last night.

Local ambulance services were overrun, while several properties were damaged.

Papua New Guinea riots

PNG is a Pacific nation north of Queensland. It has been led by Prime Minister James Marape since 2019.

Riots broke out yesterday following a demonstration by public service workers – including police – protesting a recent wage error.

A payroll issue led to some staff being taxed incorrectly and receiving less pay.

Civil unrest

Multiple deaths have been reported after gunfire, explosions, and arson broke out in Port Moresby on Wednesday afternoon, local time.

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop called for residents to “cease the looting and vandalism” of local businesses.

The ABC has reported at least nine people were killed in Port Moresby with a further seven deaths in the country’s north, according to police in Lae.

The pay glitch

PNG’s Internal Revenue Commission blamed a system error for the underpayment issue that sparked the initial protests.

It said the Department of Finance was rectifying the issue that led to the missing wages, and workers would be “fully reimbursed”.

Riot response

Ambulance services warned of mass delays due to a high volume of calls during the riots.

The PNG Government signed off on a plan to deploy defence forces in Port Moresby, to support local police on the ground.

PM Marape said concerns about public service wages were “being heard”.

Governor Parkop said the cost to businesses and property owners is expected to be “substantial”.

“We are inflicting harm upon ourselves,” he said.

The Government apologised to businesses affected by the unrest and will evaluate tax relief measures for those impacted by the riots.

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