Action at the Lae markets again yesterday.
Let me explain. Yesterday morning, at about 8am I headed out to the markets with Ashlyn. At least it is cool at that time, and the crowds are not too big yet. While we were in the markets it was obvious that something was going on. There was a crowd in the small security room and lots of loud talking/shouting. Then about 20 minutes later, as I left, I noticed a man with his face and lip swollen and bleeding being lead away to the police station just on the border of the market. Obviously he had been caught pick-pocketing or stealing, and was being dealt with PNG style. That was no major event – we have seen those kinds of things so often that, though still always unpleasant, they become part and parcel of life here.
However, as I walked past the police station I noticed another crowd gathering and the police trying to move them on. It appeared to me (by what they were doing and saying) that it was one of their mates being held police and they were trying to get him out. Then they started grouping near the gates of the markets and I thought that was a good time to “givim 60” (as you say here in PNG, which means basically to go fast –comes from the 60k/hour speed limit, I presume) and get out of there. It went through my head, and I even mentioned to Ashlyn (yes, my conversations with our 3-year-old are quite strange at times), “mmm , seems like some kind of trouble is going to happen.” I even remember Ashlyn jumping up onto the seat and standing up for a better look with her usual question, “what, Mum?” after which I spent the next 10 minutes of the ride back home trying to explain my comment to her.
Well, today we read in the paper that yesterday a big riot broke out at the market. Now I don’t really think it was related to what I saw, other than that maybe pickpockets were out in force yesterday. Anyway, apparently there was a group of pick-pockets/no-gooders, at the markets yesterday (what’s new??). Except eventually they decided to pick on the wrong woman who turned a knife on them and then started slashing them with a knife. The criminals, however, soon returned with reinforcements (mates) and tried to attack the woman again who made her escape on a bus to her home in nine-mile. But that was not the end of it. She returned a bit later with 100 reinforcements and started a riot against the criminals, using knives and rocks. They in turn gathered numbers and fought back eventually overpowering the woman’s friends and tribesmen who escaped on their buses back to their homes. The police back-up arrived….20 minutes after the riot broke out…not sure what happened after that. During the riot shops nearby closed as well.
I am just thankful that I went to the market when I did, as I sure have no desire to be caught up in the middle of a riot! God was looking out for us again, as He always is! His over-reaching, over-arching, all-encompassing providence is so awesome and amazing.