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Hundreds of police swarm Melbourne’s CBD as ethnic groups clash

‘Like something out of Braveheart’: Hundreds of riot police swarm Melbourne’s CBD as ‘rival African and Pacific Islander gangs’ clash after family-orientated Moomba Festival

  • Brawling groups of ethnic youths have marred the Moomba Festival yet again 
  • Police had promised a dedicated presence of officers in Melbourne CBD 
  • But footage taken outside city’s St Paul’s Cathedral showed violent scenes
  • Five people arrested following brawls at Federation Square and Flinders Street

Brawling groups of ethnic youths have marred the Moomba Festival yet again, with five people arrested following three separate incidents in Melbourne’s CBD.

Hundreds of riot squad officers were forced to use capsicum spray to break up a series of brawls at Federation Square and Flinders Street Station between 10pm on Saturday night and 2am on Sunday.

Confronting footage taken outside St Paul’s Cathedral showed dozens of young men and women watch as a topless man threw punches.

Brawling groups of ethnic youths have marred the Moomba Festival yet again, with five people arrested following three separate incidents in Melbourne’s CBD 

The three brawls, one of which was filmed by The Herald Sun, appear to have all featured the same two groups.

‘On each occasion two groups of youths began fighting before Public Order Response Team and Uniform police immediately intervened,’ a police spokesperson said.

One social media user reported the events at Flinders Street were like something ‘out of The Warriors’ movie, with more than 150 police officers ‘reluctant to do anything other than randomly spray capsicum (spray).’

The user claimed the brawls were between a group of African and Pacific Islanders. 

They would charge at each other randomly. Like something out of Braveheart,’ they wrote.

‘I saw about 5 massive clashes, with the Islanders coming out on top in all of them. Pound for Pound they were formidable and unstoppable.’ 

The violent incidents came despite Victoria Police pre-empting trouble surrounding the family-friendly event, promising a dedicated police presence throughout the city.

Capsicum spray was used twice to break up the fights, which they believe were linked.

Confronting footage taken outside St Paul's Cathedral showed dozens of young men and women watch as a topless man threw punches (pictured)

Confronting footage taken outside St Paul’s Cathedral showed dozens of young men and women watch as a topless man threw punches (pictured) 

Three people were arrested for assault and two others for drunken behaviour.

A further two penalty notices were also issued, one for riotous behaviour and one for weapons offences.

There has been an increased police presence around the Moomba Festival following the 2016 ‘Moomba riots’ linked to the Apex gang.

During the riots, 150 youths stole phones, taunted police and terrorised the public.

One social media user reported the events at Flinders Street were like something 'out of The Warriors' movie, with more than 150 police officers 'reluctant to do anything other than randomly spray capsicum (spray)'

One social media user reported the events at Flinders Street were like something ‘out of The Warriors’ movie, with more than 150 police officers ‘reluctant to do anything other than randomly spray capsicum (spray)’

More than 30 teens were arrested over those riots and police have had a strong presence at the festival since then.

Ahead of this year’s event, Commander Tim Hansen told reporters more police resources would be deployed this year than ever before.

‘If there are those of you … that want to come into Moomba and want to cause trouble, and cause harm to those families that come down to celebrate Melbourne, we will be here in force waiting for you, and ready for you,’ he warned.

There has been an increased police presence around the Moomba Festival following the 2016 'Moomba riots' (pictured) linked to the Apex gang

There has been an increased police presence around the Moomba Festival following the 2016 ‘Moomba riots’ (pictured) linked to the Apex gang

 

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