Police pelted by brawling Vic youths
Brawlers pelted police with glass bottles in Melbourne as they tried to break up a large street fracas, sparking fears of drunken violence marring Australia Day festivities.
Officers had been confronted by a huge crowd of aggressive youths after being called to Springvale in the city’s southeast just before midnight on Friday.
At least 80 people were already fighting in the street when a glass bottle was thrown at one of the police.
Acting Senior Sergeant Anita Brens says police had to spray down four men in the crowd with capsicum foam to try to break up the brawl.
While the group slowly left the suburban street, they continued pelting police with a barrage of glass bottles.
“They continued to be abusive towards police and fight amongst themselves,” she said.
No one was arrested and the police all escaped injury.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said he was disgusted by the group’s behaviour and praised police for being able to handle such a volatile situation.
“That is absolutely inappropriate, that is wrong, it is disgusting behaviour,” he said.
“It is not the sort of behaviour we want in Melbourne or Victoria.”
The melee came only a day after senior police warned of drunken violence occurring over the Australia Day long weekend.
Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright said the assault rate on January 26 has been skyrocketing in recent years, largely due to open-air events, alcohol and large gatherings of people.
“We have lots of public events, lots of occasions, but it’s still our worst day,” he said.
Patrols will be stepped up in city hotspots and around public transport hubs to deal with the expected surge in violence.