Clearly our observations of Australia Day in Newcastle were right. You can read yesterday’s post HERE.
Here is the article from the front page of The Herald (Newcastle) this morning:
Hunter police seek alcohol limit after violent Australia Day
ANGRY police have vowed to push for more alcohol restrictions after Australia Day celebrations turned into the worst violence seen in Newcastle for more than a decade.
Constant brawls between drunken “ferals”, some thought to be as young as 12, pushed emergency services to the limit as Newcastle’s parks became a battle ground for alcohol-fuelled rage. John Hunter Hospital staff said the day was a “nightmare”.
The emergency ward needed extra security as even those with injuries had to be sedated and tied to beds because of their aggression.
Newcastle Ocean Baths was closed and emptied to clean up loads of broken glass dumped by drunks. Newcastle police chief Max Mitchell’s anger was palpable yesterday. He said the situations his officers had to deal were disgraceful.
“Like always, they do not know when to stop drinking and the yobbo element takes over,” Superintendent Mitchell said.
“We just had brawl after brawl after brawl. And the really unfortunate issue is that many of these [people] were under 18, and I am talking at 10pm or 11pm at night.
“I don’t understand the mentality of the kids’ parents and I am sick and tired of having to constantly deal with these people.”
Police made 10 arrests in the city but many offenders were able to escape as officers tried to control the brawls instead of taking people into custody.
About 20,000 people celebrated Australia Day in areas surrounding the Newcastle Foreshore, King Edward Park and Empire Park.
Superintendent Mitchell said he would lobby the council to change alcohol-free zones in the parks, including the 8am-8pm “window” allowing alcohol consumption in King Edward Park, where thousands of mainly teenaged drinkers gathered.
“Many of my officers have said it was the worst night they have seen in more than 10 years,” he said.
“Many others said they had never seen such attitude from young people, such abuse of alcohol and the amount of fights.”
Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate said he expected the council would support any police moves for tougher restrictions, adding it was “annoying that yobs and idiots just go mad on a day like that”.
John Hunter Hospital emergency department services manager Catherine Foster-Curry said the evening was a “nightmare”.
“From 7pm to about 5am we were faced with an endless procession of aggressive drunk young men, some with very significant injuries,” she said. “We needed security in the emergency department all night just trying to keep order.” Staff were physically and verbally abused with many patients having to be restrained and sedated so they could be treated.
Fed-up and disrespectful are words that come to mind, among other’s that I can’t repeat on here. I will never understand these people’s mentality that think it’s OK to abuse people, physically and verbally. Australia Day is to celebrate this great country that we live in, and for years now its just constantly escalated into a day to get totally shitfaced and cause trouble. The Australian Way? I don’t think so.
There was also a letter to the editor in today’s paper, which genuinely saddened me from a man describing his family Australia Day. Druken youths in the alcohol-free zone. Objects being thrown at Sudanese children. And this: “Then, when we returned to our car in Stevenson Place, we found empty or part-empty beer bottles placed under the wheels of about eight cars, including our own. Across the road I heard a group of young Sudanese men who appeared to have been drinking heavily, with empty bottles around. As I stared at them, one started crossing the road towards me, walked up to our vehicle, removed the two bottles from under our wheels and walked off. My wife and I drove home shaken, disappointed and remain in a state of dismay as to what has happened to Newcastle.” Mr Blanch, Macquarie Hills (Newcastle).
Sadly Mr Blanch, I don’t think it just happened to Newcastle.