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Security forces storm PNG parliament over unpaid wages after APEC summit

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Security forces storm PNG parliament over unpaid wages after APEC summit
The APEC Haus is seen during the APEC Summit, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea November 17, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray   -   Copyright  David Gray(Reuters)
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By Tom Westbrook

PORTMORESBY (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 mobilising.”

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.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Writing by Colin Packham in SYDNEY; Editing by Paul Tait)

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