21 Aug 2013

Businesses in PNG's Mt Hagen re-open after protests

6:21 pm on 21 August 2013

Businesses have re-opened in the capital of Papua New Guinea's Western Highlands province after going into lockdown yesterday due to tension in the town over local elections.

Paramilitary police deployed to Mt Hagen from Chimbu province have helped to quell the tensions around protests which blocked the main road, as well as the airport shut and water supplies cut.

Candidates' supporters were angry over the Electoral Commissioner's declaration of a failed vote in five local level government wards in the province.

A Mt Hagen resident, Linston Tinemau, says key infrastructure facilities have been secured and life is returning to normal.

"There was not really a major fight relating to it (the electoral issue) but it's still tense. Banks were shut yesterday, shops were shut, schools... they did not send kids to school, but the ships have opened today, the banks have opened today. So the utilities are running as normal: power's restored, water's flowing, the Highway's open and trucks are running. Everything you can think of is normal."

Linston Tinemau in Mt Hagen