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THE PRIME MINISTER, Issue 15670, 8 December 1914
THE PRIME MINISTER
ADDRESS. AT FONSONBY. WILD "SCENES. LAWLESS ELEMENT BREAK LOOSE. The Prime Minister spoke at Tonsonby (a suburb of Auckland) last- evening. Disgraceful scenes were witnessed. Mr Maseey left the Grand Hotel in a ear belonging to the hotel, and proceeded to Ponsouby via College Hill. When the car rounded a corner and neared th© theatre a howling mob was encountered, stretching right across the street. The engine had Mopped, and the car had almost come to a standstill, when one of tho tyres was slit, apparently with a very sharp knife. Tho tube in the tyre was ako cut, and both were ruined beyond repair. The value ef a new tyn» m £ib and that of a tube £5. The hood of the car was damaged, and two of the ribs were broken. Somecue seized the mudguard, but did no damage to it. While the meeting was proceeding the driver got the car repaired, and secured the services of two policemen lo prevent further injuries. The meeting protectee* fairly placidly for about an hour and a-half. Just before 9.30 p,m. a gentleman walked un to the platform and had a hurried consultation with Mr Masse\=, who turned to the audience a<jd exprest?ed his regret that all would have to leave the hall in about 10 minutes. Before the speaker could complete In' 6 sentence a number of women rushed madly to the exit, and there were indications of a panic, th© audience by this time observing that the room' had became- very smoky. Mr Maesey pacified tho crowd by explaining that the loss of the lights was the worst that could happen, and that there was not the slightest cause for alarm. Thereupon a motion of confidence in him as Prime Minister was put and carried, and the audience commenced to disperse, which they did hurriedly owing to tho increasing smokiness. A reporter went to the engine room with the engineer. It was impossible to breathe in that room, and a hasty retreat was imperative by reaaon of the smoke. The lubricator connected with the crank of the engine had been taken away, and the requisite oil had not been supplied to the works. This lead to squeaking, and then came the smoke. The foreman had also detected the smoke, and he made an examination. It was agreed that the trouble could not have occurred accidentally, the opinion being that someone had deliberately taken the lubricator away. Mr North discovered an old one, and placed itrin position. Outsido the hall there was a scene of wild excitement. Several thousand people, sbviously of the federationist element, ;rowded round the building, and the pulico —theTe were 22 of them, under Sergeant Rutledge— had all their work «t in keeping them in order. The mounted police had to be called in to clear a pastas* for Mr Masaey's car, and when he appeared howls of execration wer« hurled at him, coupled with intense booing. The Prime Minister was not perturbed in the slightest degree, ajid took oil' his hat and smiled cheerily at his opponents, lhe mounted men again cleared a way for hia exit. Being in an angry mood the crowd looked round far new victims. Mr J. H. Bradney (the Government candidate for Auckland West), in whoso electorate the Prime Miniatcr had spoken, seemed to be .:h<*en by mutual consent to fill the bill, and the crowd made a rush for him. Somebody threw a stone. The police effected a capture, but the mart was eventually released, as there was doubt as to the identity of the offender. Mr Bradney came out of the hall with his wife and his elder daughter on his ami, and he j essayed to cross the street. There were cheers for Mr Rradney from his supporters, and a great volume of booing from opponents. , The crowd gradually closed in on the I candidate. He got away without injury, but just as he reached the opposite corner he heard it said that a younr: lady had fainted. He returned to investigate, only to discover that it was his own younger daughter (Miss Beatrice Bradney). The crowd again threatened Mr Bradney. and were clearly in an extremely ugly mood. He only escaped injury by waving his ftick in a vigorous manner. Mr Arthur I'os&er came up and apologised to him for the actions of the crowd. Every attention was civen to Miss Bradney, but it was too late to prevent her from beintr trampled on after she had fainted. She was taken to the Ponsonby C.lub Hotel, where consciousness was • restored.
On being interviewed later in tho evening Mr Bradney stiid that his daughter •was in a low state. She. had worn a wrist watch, and this was .subsequently picked up on the pavenwnt. It had come off when the crowd tranmled on her, and had got broken. "I should like to say.'' declared Mr Bnulney. " that the. occurrences were n ost disgraceful to any constituency, and it shows plainly that a jrancr of hoodlums are trying to put tho present Government oui of office. At tho same time it is part of an orjjaniswd scheme to break up Government meetings and <*arrv vot-cs of no-venrHenoe in ord-nr to make the people of tho Dominion believe thai the 'creat Liberal party' is ir. the ascendancr."
One man attempted to strike a constable, but was not apprehended." Another, in Territorial uniform, was arrested on a charge of reisistin:; thft police in the execution of their diuv. It is allejrad that hj? kicked one of tno mounted constables' horses.
THE PRIME MINISTER, Issue 15670, 8 December 1914
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