MOST shops in Top Town, Lae, closed for business on Saturday, after a fight involving street sellers and the public.
More than 50 street hawkers and peddlers, who have often been fingered for abetting pick-pocket thieves, were chased by the public at about 10am.
They regrouped at the 9th Street and then return and chased their attackers.
Along Central Avenue, the elderly, mothers and children ran into the safety of offices and shops.
Shops and offices closed and traffic stopped.
All shoppers were locked indoors.
While shop managers armed their guards and staff members with bush knives, police moved in with two unmarked utilities and a troop carrier.
No damages were done to buildings or vehicles but the shops did not open again.
Major shop, Foodmart, however, kept its doors open behind its high steel fence until the evening.
Unconfirmed reports said one man was killed and a handful sustained injuries during the attack that started at about 9.30am.
The reason for the public’s attack on the street sellers is not known.
It is understood there will be a public protest march during the week to rid the city of street sellers and pick-pockets.