Security forces storm PNG parliament over unpaid wages after APEC summit

A local sits at a bus stop displaying a China Aid emblem and an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) banner in central Port Moresby, the capital city of the poorest nation in the 21-member APEC group, in Papua New Guinea, November 15, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

PORT MORESBY (Reuters) – A group of up to 100 Papua New Guinea (PNG) security personnel forced their way into parliament on Tuesday to demand unpaid wages, lawmakers said, just days after world leaders attended a regional summit in the impoverished island nation.

“It was the armed forces, police and correctional workers. They have entered the parliament and just smashed everything up,” opposition parliamentarian Allan Bird told Reuters by telephone.

“They were yelling: ‘corrupt government, bloody government’ and so on. They were taking their frustration out on the furniture,” he said.

“They dispersed eventually but we are hearing more are mobilizing.”

The unrest came days after PNG hosted Asia-Pacific leaders for a regional summit.

The APEC summit, which ended at the weekend, propelled PNG onto the world stage but many residents were angered when the South Pacific country purchased a fleet of luxury cars that now stand unused in a warehouse.

Most Papua New Guineans eke out a subsistence living and luxury cars are very rare on roads that often require four-wheel drive vehicles.

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