The New Daily

Violent gang chaos ‘to be more frequent’

As Melbourne and Sydney recover from bloody weekends, one expert says city streets are only going to become more dangerous.

moomba brawl melbourne

Police patrol Flinders St station amid violent clashes in the city. Photo: Twitter

The violent brawls that forced police to lock down parts of central Melbourne and Sydney at the weekend will become increasingly common in Australian cities in the years ahead, warns a leading criminologist.

While police hunted those responsible for a series of riotous confrontations that saw capsicum spray and batons used on warring ethnic groups in downtown Melbourne on Saturday night, officers were on stand-by late on Sunday after threats of a reprisal were made on Facebook.

In Sydney, a vicious fight between two men outside a concert venue early on Sunday morning grew into a rolling street battle involving dozens of combatants, with police calling for reinforcements to quell the fighting. Just 24 hours earlier, a group of women celebrating a hen’s night were allegedly attacked by two men, who will appear in court in April.

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Professor Allen Perry, a lecturer in criminology at the University of Adelaide, says random outbreaks of public violence involving ethnic gangs and other groups will become more frequent in densely populated urban centres.

“The reason why there appears to be an increase in youth violence … is because of changes in socialisation, particularly through family and early environments,” Professor Perry told The New Daily. 

“This has occurred through the last 20 to 30 years – the self-discipline that is the product of a stable family environment has significantly declined.

“So that, in broad strokes, is why we are going to increasingly see [more frequent occurrences] of this type of urban youth violence.”

Mr Perry said children were growing up “more inclined to impulsive behaviour”, which he claimed led to criminality, specifically through violence and aggression.

Large-scale aggression

In Melbourne, the CBD was shut down near the corner of Flinders St and Swanston St as a fight erupted between gangs – the ‘Apex’ and ‘Islander 23’ groups. The fight started at nearby Federation Square, reportedly involving up to 200 people.

The groups, Apex and Islander 23, have been reported as “teenage street gangs” and it was reported the former was made up of African youths. Pacific Islander teenagers reportedly made up the other gang.

It was not the first time African and Pacific Islander gangs had gone head-to-head in Melbourne. In 2007 it was reported the groups engaged in a number of clashes.

Crowds, including families, attending the annual Moomba Festival were forced to seek cover before police broke up the melee using capsicum spray.

Police also received reports of robberies in the CBD related to the “large group of youths fighting”.

melbourne brawl

Youths scramble down steps at Federation Square, presumably from police. Photo: YouTube.

It is believed the confrontation was organised via social media application Snapchat.

Chairs were reportedly hurled across City Square on Swanston St, bringing traffic and trams to a standstill.

sydney violence

Two men have been arrested after the chaos in Sydney. Photo: ABC

Police said no weapons were involved in Sydney and it was unknown what provoked the violence.

Sydney’s nightlife has been hotly debated recently, with protests against lockout laws restricting alcohol sales and admittance to licensed venues in some areas.

Brisbane passed similar laws in February while Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had stated he would not support such legislation in Melbourne.

Why youths fight, commit violence

Former Deakin University lecturer and expert in criminology Neville Millen said gangs were regularly borne out of factors like location, class, race and socio-economic circumstances.

“Gangs form by close association of people who live in similar neighbourhoods with similar backgrounds and life chances, or disadvantages, and usually they’re related by age,” Mr Millen told The New Daily.

“To control or modify behaviours you need to go into areas and see and try and change the factors leading them to behave poorly.”

He said underprivileged or neglected young members of society sought comfort in groups, often leading to gang trouble.

-with ABC


  • Harry

    What needs to happen is quite obvious if one studies the video’s.

  • Renato Alessio

    The solution is pretty simple. If ethnic gangs wish to riot in this manner, identify and arrest as many as possible – and deport them to where they came from, either to their home country or the refugee camp from which they came.

    The notion that Australians are somehow being racist for not wanting to tolerate such behaviour, is preposterous.

    • Arrrgghhh!!!

      You cannot deport someone who was born here.

      • James Boyd

        He said “if” they weren’t born here. That would at least diminish the problem.

        • Arrrgghhh!!!

          Are you Rip Van Winkle or something? You must have been asleep for THREE months, which is when this story and comments were made. Grow up!

      • James Boyd

        …and if they were born here you would treat them as citizen/criminals….any objections?

  • Mike at Old Bar

    And still the planeloads arrive.

  • Simon_Strauss

    I wonder if there is a “real” increase in this type of behavior? As a boy growing up in Box Hill I saw quite a lot of “gang” fights. The opposing gangs were the Rockers, Jazzers and the Mods and in the late 1960’s being unaligned was dangerous as was walking along Whitehorse rd etc at night.

    • Arrrgghhh!!!

      When youth feels alienated, there is always trouble. They are testosterone on legs. Most seem to have not had good male role models on how to behave in a socially acceptable manner, that is how to respect themselves and others.

  • Grant Summers

    Geoff. You are a classic lefty fool. This was always going to happen. Anyone who’s been watching North America or Europe’s multicultural policies would see that it’s an inevitable failure. Examples galore of racial gangs and mobs committing crimes in spite of the best efforts made by even the most tolerant societies on earth. The Abbotts and the Howards know this and they tried to stop it, but people like you can vote for Gillard and SHY. Multiculturalism does NOT work and you refuse to see it. “There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see”.

  • Mike at Old Bar

    Hundreds of youths of African and Pacific origin brawl in Sydney, terrifying ordinary citizens.

    No arrests.

    No charges.

    It’s taken two days to even dare, shock horror, to use the word “ethnic” despite trying to keep that hush hush in case somebody got offended.

    Well here’s one family who are highly offended at this happening in our country, as well as the sure fact that we will no longer be spending any tourist dollars in Sydney.

  • Alf

    I will add another slant to the equation. As long as we let or encourage Melbourne and Sydney to get bigger and bigger, the problem will get worse and worse.

  • Danno

    Why do you think that? Because it was Africans and Islanders? And if you mention that you are automatically a racist? And how does stating facts cause more problems? I would have thought facts are pretty important.

  • Grant Summers

    Paul, what’s wrong with you? African gangs are terrorizing innocent families with rioting, thievery and assault, and your first thought is to go on about racists . Africans did this. White people GAVE them asylum, homes, law and order, health care, fresh water etc… They give us terror and violence. They’ve earned a severe backlash and you’ve got no grounds to speak of racism.

  • Gympie

    Not sure that there was any ethnic hatred between Pacific Islanders and the Sudanese before both groups arrived in Australia.

  • oscarcat

    Wholly predictable. Multi culturalism is recognised as the failure it always has been in Europe but it is still promoted in Australia. African migrants in particular have nothing to offer any society and make a negative contribution to the gdp. Africa must sort its own problems out, not export them to the developed world.

  • Chris

    So before this incident we never had riots in this country?
    And of course let’s not forget to blame multiculturism!

  • mulga mumblebrain

    The Right has been openly fomenting and fostering race and sectarian hatred for over twenty years, ever since Howard, following his mentors in the US Republican Party, determined on it as a useful device to garner the votes of the worst in society. He sowed the wind, and here comes the whirlwind.

  • mulga mumblebrain

    A rusted-on Howardite hater, enjoying what they caused, deliberately.

    • 0011clem .

      I enjoy the good old days . when Australia was not at the mercy of lefties , gays , do gooders and minorities .

  • mulga mumblebrain

    Of course it is. The violence if quelled quickly would not be so politically useful for the Right.

    • Keeper of the Crystals

      No Right here.
      Labor government in Victoria and the Premier says he will come down hard on these thugs.

  • A Former Victim

    This is 100% the fault of the police and justice systems. I was robbed and had the shit beaten out of me by a group on young men in the Melbourne CBD, in the middle of the day. There was high-definition CCTV of the attack yet Victoria Police made no effort to ensure justice was done other than protecting the identity of the attackers. Why would you stop committing violent crime when there is such a small chance of getting in trouble? I guess even if they were arrested, some sympathetic judge within our useless court system would have given them a slap on the wrist anyway.

    I am a believer in multiculturalism and immigration, I think we should be welcoming more refugees into our country. I also believe that we deserve to be safe in our cities and that the current law enforcement and justice systems are hopelessly inadequate to deal with a rapidly growing population. We need more prisons, smarter police and stronger laws (including mandatory minimum sentences) for all violent and sexual offences. If you choose to go and commit a violent or sexual act against another person, you should be thrown in jail for a minimum of SEVERAL YEARS with no parole.

    As a society, we cannot continue to condone this behaviour. In the case of an event such as Moomba, why were there not hundreds of riot police with plastic bullets and tasers ready to protect the innocent? The media even gave them a heads up the day before but there were no preparations put in place at all. There were hundreds of offenders yet only 24 arrests? Why were the police not using batons and tasers to fight back? Why are we so worried about “hurting” the people committing the violence? Why not knock them unconscious and arrest them en masse?

    I will not be a victim again and I will not allow my family or others that I care about become victims either. I have put some measures in place since I was robbed and next time I will not call the police, I will deal with it myself and the offenders will end up in a hospital or a morgue. I wish it were different, I wish the Victorian Government and Victoria Police gave a shit about the victim and vigilante justice was not necessary but unfortunately that is the world of an idealist.

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