AFTER SEVERAL THOUSAND DEMONSTRATORS, mainly students, took to the streets in Port Moresby yesterday, prime minister Peter O'neill will address the nation tomorrow night to explain his government's controversial new powers to suspend judges.
Demonstrators gathered at the University of Papua New Guinea before marching to the government offices to hand the prime minister a petition against the Judicial Conduct Act 2012, which passed parliament on Wednesday.
The protesters initially demanded to meet with Mr O'Neill or his deputy Belden Namah, but were instead met behind the government offices by chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc.
"Tune in to your radios and (TV) stations at 7 o'clock Sunday. The prime minister Peter O'Neill will address the country on the issues that you are raising, the issue of the judicial conduct bill," he told the crowd.
"My friends, the issues you are raising are no different from those throughout the country. Your government is appreciative of what you are raising, we understand where you are coming from.
"The government will look at your petition, we will look at all the petitions."
UPNG student president Dicky Lao told the crowd the government's decision to pass the law was wrong.
"The law is not in the best interest of the common good of our people," he said.
"We, the student body of PNG are of the view that the (purpose) of the controversial bill is to assert power of the executive arm, the legislature, at the expense of the judiciary."
Opposition to the bill - which is widely seen as an escalation in the government's battle to unseat Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia - has been mounting since it was rushed through parliament this week.
Opposition Leader Dame Carol Kidu has condemned the bill and the manner in which it has passed, while former Chief Justice and Attorney General Sir Arnold Amet has appealed for international intervention.