Let’s not forget what the students did in 2016…This week is 3 years

students2This week,  marks three years since UPNG students were shot at a public gathering.

Days leading up to the shootings. They were belittled, scorned and told that their opinions did not matter.  They coined the  hashtag #UPNG4PNG.  Girls dressed in black extended the campaign on social media.  Many, were uncertain about the outcome. Many were unsure if what they were doing was the right thing by their parents, their families and their country.

The ‘adults’ mocked them. The public servants told them to go back to school and forget about politics because they were ‘not qualified’ to talk about what happened in the seat of power.

UPNG President, Kenneth Rapa, and other student leaders called for the resignation of the Prime Minister.  Hercules Palme Jim, travelled with a group of students to the Highlands in a campaign that challenged the status quo when everyone was too afraid to speak out.

On June 8, police shot into the crowd of students injuring  some of them.  Students were chased and teargassed.  NBC journalist Rose Amos was assaulted by police.

The UPNG administration later  penalized students for being part of the protest while their comrades lay injured in hospital. Some were told they would not graduate that year.

This is what they campaigned for:

  • Greater transparency in government
  • A stop to the overseas borrowing
  • Resignation of the Prime Minister

They stood up for a democracy  when everyone else was too afraid.




3 comments on “Let’s not forget what the students did in 2016…This week is 3 years

  1. Thanks for remembering. Here is the video the UPNG SRC made about the shooting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdn4VlqbmC0. Here is what transpired at UNITECH where we were able to contain violence and destruction and separate police and students https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRXEBRdS1jU


  2. Charity

    Thanks for the reminder, so refreshing. Everyone still forgets that we have the human rights to the freedom of speech. Also the fact that the government is for the people and by the people of PNG…


    • Barton Maino

      Dear Scott,
      Thank you for this sobering reminder. It did make me teary and sent chills down my spine. I stand in total respect and admiration for what they did as the blood shed three years ago paved the way for what transpired recently in the change of government. They did not reap then but their efforts were never in waste. May God bless those who sacrificially give themselves for the common good of this great country. They are heroes we must never forget!


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