“Stay inside and lock your doors.” This was the message police gave to terrified residents in Melbourne as gangs of African youths brawled, destroyed public property and attacked police.
Tell us again how Melbourne doesn’t have a problem with violent African gangs?
From the Australian – Written by Samantha Hutchinson, Reported by Remy Varga.
Victoria Police have defended not arresting any of the dozens of youths of African appearance who set upon officers last, hurled rocks at their cars and smashing a windscreen, saying it was a short term tactical decision.
Police ordered people in Bronte Way, Taylors Hill, in Melbourne’s west, to lock their doors as they tried to gain control of a group that had gathered at about 7pm in a nearby park.
Projectiles, believed to be rocks, were hurled at officers and a police car was damaged before heavily armed specialist officers were called in.
Melbourne CBD and West Divisions Commander Tim Hansen said the gang of 100 were actually two groups who had met up to fight.
“It looked like it was two groups that had come together because of pre-existing tensions between the two groups and they had agreed to meet u[ there to have a fight initially,” he told 3AW.
Commander Hansen said the goal of police last night was to disperse the group.
“The short term objectives last night were to make the residents safe, and disperse that group and return a good order to that residential area.” he said.
He said an investigation was launched last night and police would be making moves today.
“I think you’ll find us moving through the western suburbs today at different times, speaking to people” he said. “I just want to reassure everyone we take a zero tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour.”
Taxi drivers were warned on their in-car message boards to avoid the area “due to a riot”.
No arrests had been made in the two hours after the violence broke out but police said they had “dispersed” the crowd.
One resident told the Herald Sun that police had told them the youths had gathered for “war”.
“I had to wait for (about) seven or eight to move from my driveway when I tried to drive into my garage,” a resident said.
Resident Peter Lazaridis told the Herald Sun he saw 30 youths of African appearance congregate at a local park. “I’m s**t scared,” Mr Lazaridis said