Seven people have been injured, including one man who was hit by a car, in a fight that broke out as a large crowd left an inner Melbourne venue.
The melee erupted at about 2.45am on Sunday when as many as 200 people poured onto the street after a record launch at the Gasometer Hotel on Smith Street, Collingwood, and rolled through nearby streets.
“During the affray, a car has collided with a number of parked cars on Mater Street and pinned one person against the parked vehicle,” Commander Tim Hansen told reporters.
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Stunned and shocked residents said they had never seen anything like it.
“It was just anarchy,” resident Michael Devine told Fairfax Media.
“I sort of saw a flash of a car and heard a screech and then bang…”
Residents who came out of their homes to help the injured were also roughed up, locals said.
A neighbour who lives on nearby Mater St told the Herald Sun the grey car did a U-turn before accelerating at “a blistering pace” and ploughing into the crowd.
“He was f***ing aiming for people straight at them,” the witness said.
“Everyone was screaming. I didn’t see the moment of impact but it was clear he had just one agenda: to annihilate people.”
The man hit by the car has serious leg injuries, while six others have injuries that were described as non-life threatening. All were taken to hospital.
Two other vehicles were also damaged in the incident.
Commander Hansen said police had no specific reason to expect trouble but had stationed three patrol cars near the venue as a precaution.
Because of recent crimes involving the Pacific Islander and African communities, police had flagged the venue for monitoring.
“It’s not uncommon when we have an event in a CBD licensed premises for us to task particular patrols to keep a watching brief on it,” he said.
“There was no intelligence leading into it that it was going to be a particular high risk event for us, so in some circumstances I guess it’s come from left field as far as the escalating behaviour.”
Commander Hansen said he was not aware of weapons being used, but his officers were going through CCTV footage including from the venue.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information has been asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.