Protesters gather at PNG's Parliament

Protesters gather at PNG's Parliament

Protesters gather at PNG's Parliament

Updated 24 April 2012, 15:47 AEST

Protesters have gathered outside Papua New Guinea's Parliament, calling on the government to ensure the June election goes ahead as scheduled.

Most schools and some businesses in Port Moresby were closed today in anticipation of a large public protest, but the demonstration was much smaller than expected.

Several groups, including the Trade Union Congress, had said they would march to parliament.

Instead, several hundred people gathered slowly near the parliament to listen to speakers call on the government to allow them to vote.

"Parliament does not have the power. Your power is up. Your power is up. Do not hold onto people's power," said one unidentified speaker.

The ABC's reporter in PNG, Firmin Nanol, told Radio Australia there is a strong police presence in the city.

"Police have been deployed, about 1000 personnel all throughout the city and possible avenues and areas where people can congregate, or march, towards the parliament," he said.

Despite assurances from the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill that the vote will proceed as scheduled, many people in Papua New Guinea remain skeptical after parliament tried unsuccessfully to defer the election for six months.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has upgraded its travel advice for PNG.