A witness to violent brawls between two groups in Melbourne’s CBD has described how teenage Pacific Islander girls beat up African boys in chaotic scenes.
Events planner Blagoja Stajkojic was on his way home from the Moomba Festival with friends when he came across a tense stand-off between two opposing groups.
The Melbourne man claimed 100 African youths had staked their territory on the steps of Flinders Street Station and were playing rap music while a group of Pacific Islanders stood nearby.
‘It was all really territorial. The Islanders were on the steps of Federation Square and groups of them just kept getting closer and closer. I could tell something was about to happen,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
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Melbourne resident Blagoja Stajkojic said the low number of people taken into custody was more a reflection of light-handed policing than the severity of the brawling (brawl scenes pictured)
A witness to violent brawls between ethnic groups in Melbourne’s CBD has described how female Pacific Islander teenagers beat up African boys in chaotic scenes (youths pictured brawling on Flinders Street Station escalators in footage posted online)
Mr Stajkojic, who managed to snap a photo of the two ‘gangs’ squaring up against each other, claimed things kicked off after glass bottles were thrown.
He said there was only one winner in the crazed fighting, which rolled on for about three hours as dozens of riot squad officers roamed the city.
‘Pound for pound the Pacific Islanders dominated the Africans. They were just bigger guys – three African guys got knocked unconscious,’ he said.
He also revealed the Pacific Islander girls were beating up the male African youths as well as their female adversaries, none of whom looked over the age of 18.
Victoria Police arrested five people as a result of three separate fights at St Paul’s Cathedral and Flinders Street Station between 10pm Saturday and 2.30am Sunday.
Those arrests made up just a quarter of the total arrests over the course of the Moomba Festival weekend.
But Mr Stajkojic said the low number of people taken into custody was more a reflection of light-handed policing than the severity of the brawling.
Confronting footage taken outside St Paul’s Cathedral showed dozens of young men and women watch as a topless man threw punches (pictured)
He said despite the violence, police appeared to deter the large groups of youths with their presence rather than their handcuffs.
The events planner said he only saw one girl in the crowds of youths get arrested – and that was simply for screaming in a public place and being ‘belligerent’.
‘The police seemed to be there just to give their presence – and deploy capsicum spray to disperse the crowds,’ he said.
But he added that the tactics didn’t stop the youths fighting, as the Pacific Islanders would simply use the Federation Square fountain to wash their eyes out and go again.
Dramatic footage posted online showed more than a dozen teenagers sprinting down a set of escalators at Flinders Street station.
They appeared to corner a smaller group of boys and lay into them with flying kicks and punches as others encouraged them from a distance.
Just two minutes away at St Paul’s Cathedral, dozens of young men and women were filmed watching as a topless man threw punches at the crowd.
The brawls coincided with Melbourne’s Moomba Festival, a three-day free family event run by the council (pictured officers usher a camera away)
The violent incidents came despite Victoria Police promising a dedicated presence throughout the city during the Moomba Festival (man is pictured being subdued by police)
The brawls coincided with Melbourne’s Moomba Festival, a three-day free event run by the council.
The festival has been spoiled by youth gang violence for the past four years.
Police arrested 24 people in 2016, and more than 50 in 2017 when young thugs from the Apex gang ran riot through the city centre.
Saturday night’s violent incidents came despite Victoria Police pre-empting trouble by surrounding the family-friendly event and promising a dedicated police presence throughout the city.
Despite the violent clashes, Victoria Police Commander Tim Hansen said the footage showed a very isolated side of what the family friendly festival was about.
‘We have been happy with the event. This is a big city event. We deployed in excess of a thousand extra shifts over three days,’ he said according to The Herald Sun.
Four years of riots: The violent history of Moomba festival
Last year African gang violence (pictured) ruined the Moomba for the third year in a row
Footage filmed during the 2018 festival showed girls trading punches while frightened visitors ducked for cover
Last year African gang violence ruined the Moomba for the third year in a row – which included dozens of teenagers being caught on camera charging onto a tram with police in hot pursuit.
Footage filmed during the 2018 festival showed girls trading punches while frightened visitors ducked for cover.
But police said there were only a small number of incidents and their operation was successful.
MP Jason Wood said police were reluctant to make arrests due to fear of criticism.
Dozens of teenagers were caught on camera charging onto a tram with police in hot pursuit
There has been an increased police presence around the Moomba Festival following the 2016 ‘Moomba riots’ (pictured) linked to the Apex gang
Police arrested more than 50 people in 2017 when Apex thugs ran riot through the city centre.
Weapons including knives, scissors, a taser and a knuckle duster were seized after conducting more than 800 searches.
In 2016 officers were forced to deploy pepper spray and arrest 24 people as organised brawls broke out in front of horrified families.
150 youths stole phones, goaded police and terrorised the public.
In 2016 officers were forced to deploy pepper spray and arrest 24 people as organised brawls broke out in front of horrified families
Police were pictured in full force for the 2016 event, which has been followed by violent clashes surrounding following Moomba festivals
African community leaders worked closely with police in the lead up to the 2018 event, following the amount of violence in previous years (2016 event pictured)