Papua New Guinea: Thousands march to ‘make a stand for peace’


An article from Nonviolent Conflict News

As many as 10-thousand people walked for peace in the Papua New Guinea capital over the weekend [of September 10-11]. The governor of Port Moresby says the Sunday morning event was planned as a stand against violence in the country following a brawl at a rugby league match which left an innocent bystander dead.


Powes Parkop tells Dominic Godfrey the death of Joe Pidik was a tragedy that he and others are ashamed of.

POWES PARKOP: We don’t condone this type of activity and we want to make a statement. It is not something that we accept and we want the public to come out to make that statement, to ourselves more particularly. Also, it’s leading up to our anniversary of our 41st year’s independence. We want to also make a statement for peace and unity in our country.

DOMINIC GODFREY: Next year of course PNG is co-hosting the Rugby League World Cup. Has there been any reaction to this outbreak of violence from your co-host countries?

PP: Yes. We had a grave concern expressed, especially by the Rugby League World Cup secretariat down in Australia. They rightfully expressed to us concerns that the games that we are going to host might be addressed. But we have given them the assurance that this is only a minority activity. This doesn’t represent all our people in Papua New Guinea and especially in Pt Moresby and so I hope they put their fears to rest and we are looking forward to hosting the three games for the Rugby League World Cup.

We will be hosting the Under 20 FIFA Women’s World Cup too in November and December of this year. That’s 16 countries coming from five continents of the world. Young leaders of tomorrow will be coming to our city and our country and it’s also important that we send that message loud and clear to the participating countries in particular but to the world generally that this type of behaviour is not acceptable, not tolerated. It’s why we came out in big numbers on Sunday with our minister for sport and rugby league board and chairman, and some of our rugby league teams and other sport teams.

Everybody came out in a very strong powerful way to send a message, especially going to our own people. It’s a problem that we have with our own people and we need to get our people to change their behaviour, change their habits and that’s essentially the main purpose we marched for yesterday. We need our people, the majority of whom reject violence, and if many more of people come out and make these type of statements, then it will get this minority to change their behaviour and attitudes so I’m very pleased with the outcome yesterday.

DG: What would the message be to the people of Papua New Guinea and Pt Moresby?

PP: Violence is an impediment to prosperity and development of our people.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

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