Papua new guinea’s prime minister, James Marape has declared a state of emergency, suspending government and police officials after 16 people were killed following a police and public sector protest on Wednesday over a pay cut that official blamed on an administrative glitch.


Television footage showed thousands of people in the streets of the capital Port Moresby, many of them carrying what appeared to be looted merchandise as black smoke billowed over the city.


Prime minister James Marape told a press conference he had suspended Papua New Guinea’s chief of police and top bureaucrats in the finance and treasury departments while the government conducts a review into the cause of the riots.


Violence in the capital subsided this morning, with the government flying in extra police to maintain order and some 1,000 military personnel were on standby to ward off further unrest.


The United States embassy in Port Moresby said police had returned to work, but that tensions remained high.

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