HUNDREDS of people who attended a political rally hosted by National Alliance Party for ousted Member for Kandep Open Don Polye in Mt Hagen city last Friday ran in every direction when a tear gas canister was released and thrown into the crowd.
It was not knownthrew the canister, and everyone, including the invited guests sitting on the podium scrambled for cover.
The Queen Elizabeth Park in the city was momentarily a scene of chaos.
Parliamentarians including Member for Koroba Lake Kopiago John Kekeno, Wapenamanda MP Miki Kaeok, Tari-Pori MP and Minister for Education James Marape, Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi, Tambul-Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa, and North Waghi MP Benjamin Mul quickly left the podium where they were seated.
The reporter from The National, who was among those on the podium, was pushed back and fell as the guests pushed and shoved to get to safety.
Armed police intervened and normalcy was restored when it was realised the canister of tear gas posed no furtherdanger.
The MPs and invited guests returned to the podium about 20 minutes later.
Mr Polye immediately blamed his political rivals for the incident, recalling a similar incident during the 2007 general elections in Kandep.
He said while campaigning in 2007 national election in Kandep, he was nearly attacked by a man who pointed a gun at him.