BY KEITH JACKSON
A NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST is planned in Papua New Guinea on Tuesday as trade unions, businesses, civil society organisations, universities, churches and rank and file citizens convene a national day of action and a march on parliament.
The day of action is to challenge the O’Neill government’s move, approved by parliament on Thursday, to defer the 2012 national elections by six months.
A media release issued on behalf of a group called ‘Civil Society and all Coalition Partners’, says the move to defer the election is “unconstitutional and denies the right of every PNG citizen to vote every five years.”
The statement goes on to say:
This move is unacceptable to the people of PNG. This prime minister has lied to the people saying that the elections will proceed as normal and then goes back on his word.
We the people of PNG do not want to hear lies! We the people of PNG want to have our say through our votes and we will not be denied our rights to vote in the elections!
We the people of PNG are now demanding the government to rescind this motion to ‘defer the elections’ immediately!
We demand that the elections go ahead at the appointed time. By 27 April, the writs must be issued and due election process allowed to occur.
We the people of PNG declare that we will not relent in our protest until our demands are complied with!
Demonstrators will converge at Sir John Guise Stadium by 8am Tuesday and march on Parliament House.
Bus pick-ups will be done in Gerehu, Morata, Bomana, 14-mile, Brown River, Porebada, Hanuabada, Sabama, Taurama and other areas.
The organisers make a clarion call for “all Papua New Guineans to come … wear your independence day PNG tee-shirts.
The statements says that people will “march, protest and camp outside Parliament House until parliament rescinds the motion to defer the election.”