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A Bloody Boycott - This Week on Foreign Correspondent

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Protesters in PNG
image - supplied/ABCTV

Eight or more students shot, universities boycotted, a prime minister fighting for his political life. Eric Tlozek looks behind the unrest afflicting Australia’s nearest neighbour, PNG.

You are brewing up popular resentment which is a recipe for revolution... It’s bound to explode – head of PNG’s anti-corruption task force

As Prime Minister Peter O’Neill marshals the numbers to fend off a no confidence vote in PNG’s Parliament, the students who helped trigger the vote are mostly lying low.

We were running into the bush, they were shooting and they were like hunters looking for animals – Christopher, student protester

At least eight students were shot and wounded when police opened fire last month at a university protest in Port Moresby. Student protesters want Mr O’Neill to submit to official questioning over corruption allegations - specifically that he had authorised a fraudulent $30 million payment from public funds to a law firm.

While Mr O’Neill has denied the allegations, he has so far refused to be questioned by police.

He’s not respecting the law, he thinks he’s above the law – Tracey, student
I have exercised my constitutional right – PM Peter O’Neill

PNG correspondent Eric Tlozek was on the scene right after the shootings. He obtained interviews with wounded students in hospital and with protest leaders as they ducked between safe houses.

I got a bullet at the back and it penetrated to the stomach – Max, wounded student

Tlozek also meets the corruption-buster who, having been appointed by Peter O’Neill, is now warring with him. Two years ago Sam Koim’s Task Force Sweep issued an arrest warrant for Mr O’Neill – but the PM counterpunched by winning a series of court orders.

We gave him two hours and that two hours has been extended to two years – Sam Koim

Right or wrong, the allegations against the Prime Minister are serving as a lightning rod for popular discontent about broader corruption.

This is corruption that is depriving our people at the grandest scale – Sam Koim

“A Bloody Boycott” – on Foreign Correspondent at the earlier time of 9.20pm Tuesday July 19 and 10.30am Thursday July 21 on ABC and iview and 6.30pm AEST Saturday July 23 on News 24. Also on iview.

***The Foreign Correspondent program previously promoted for Tuesday July 19 (The Labours of Mr Zhang) has been delayed by a week due to events in PNG.***