Tuesday, 26 July 2005

upng - police - students - politics -

i'd planned to write something about this but am tired. it's a mess. it's political. it's hovering around "disasterous". it's distressing. i have a friend who's a staff member there; he was here last night. (see also here)

it's been going on for about three weeks now. at first, students talked with uni heads. when things looked calmer, various unnamed politicians got involved, egging students on, prodding them to keep protesting and rioting. same student group (from a particular highlands province) is involved as has previously caused trouble. yesterday things were pretty much ok: uni had agreed to meet all of student demands (quite a concession, because some were ridiculous), independent review of assessment methods, of canteen food etc etc. but then a govnr bob from the western highlands read out in parliament a rather inflammatory statement which was patently untrue (about the vicechancellor, "overseas every two weeks!" "funding his travel with his discretionary fund - over 1 million kina!")(a shame, i've met the gov and he's an interesting guy), but which one of his wantoks had given him to read.

so last night a small group of students - maybe 30 - gathered on campus, attempted to torch another car, campus security arrived and police were called; police showed up en masse, busses of them, several hundred full armed. security got a bit rough - apparently with knives - and so did police - apparently with fists. rumours are that the govt yesterday ordered that if the police were going in, they were to solve the problem there and then: i.e. halt student rebellion and "send out a clear message" etc. i.e. a show of force ok.

and today, another govnr, this time wenge, has come forward offering to pay for students to hire lawyers - presumably about their rough treatment. really, this is nothing to do with the uni itself: it's a game of shadow puppets, politicians pulling the string to throw punches at one another, and - more importantly - diverting attention from something else. they're out to destablise - but who i can't work out, yet. something bigger is brewing, though.

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