Deadly Riots Rock Capital City in Papua New Guinea

Deadly Riots Rock Capital City in Papua New Guinea

( – Violence is breaking out all over the world. Ecuador is in the midst of a drug war. The US launched air strikes on Yemen. Israel is at war with Gaza and militants in Lebanon. And now Papua New Guinea has also been rocked by violence.

On January 10, cars and shops were lit on fire after police officers went on strike. The cops were angry about a pay cut that the government claimed was a mistake. Apparently, an extra $100 was deducted from paychecks because of a computer glitch. Hundreds of government employees walked off of their jobs. In addition to law enforcement, defense personnel and others were involved.

The government workers gathered outside of parliament and protested their pay. That protest was relatively peaceful, but the situation in Port Moresby quickly devolved. Social media helped perpetuate a lie that the government was going to raise taxes.

The New York Times reported Prime Minister James Marape said, “Social media picked up on this wrong information, misinformation.” He said bad actors took advantage of law enforcement officers not being on the streets. Though he explained that the payroll error would be fixed on the next paycheck, he knows the economic problems are fueling “high youth unemployment and soaring inflation costs.”

Fifteen people were killed in the rioting. Looters also took advantage of the situation and stole from stores. The prime minister said that more than 1,000 troops were on standby to step in and deal with any unrest that popped up. He also declared a state of emergency for Port Moresby that would go on for 14 days.

Port Moresby General Hospital reported that eight of the deceased victims passed away at the capital. The other seven died in the city of Lae. Some protesters tried to get into the parliament building. Most of the violence was largely under control when the country’s troops got involved.

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