This one happened right next door
http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/stor ... 01,00.html
Flag slur fires brawl
January 28, 2007 12:15am
Article from: Sunday Mail (SA)
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AN AUSTRALIAN flag was torn and spat on before an alcohol-fuelled brawl during Australia Day celebrations at Semaphore.
About 60 police officers – including members of the elite STAR Group – descended on the foreshore after the mass brawl broke out among 150 revellers around 10.30pm on Friday.
Bottles were thrown and shopfronts trashed in the mayhem that some witnesses said was racially motivated.
Police – who called the fighting "mass violence" – arrested 17 people. The nine youths and eight adults, aged 15 to 34 and from what senior police called "diverse demographics", were all from neighbouring suburbs. They were released on bail.
The violence erupted shortly after a fireworks display at the Semaphore Summer Festival, a school holiday event attended by a 1000-strong crowd.
Families fled the area and amusement ride businesses closed early as bottles were thrown by the angry revellers who had ignored the local council's dry zone.
Witnesses reported youths of different backgrounds antagonising each other and youths draped in Australian flags chanting, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi".
One ride operator, who declined to be named publicly, said the violence started after a youth wearing an Australian flag had it pulled off his back, then torn, spat and stomped on by what he called "Greeks or Italians". "A couple of blokes went up to a guy wearing an Australian flag and ripped the flag off him and ripped it in half, and started spitting on it – and it went from there," he said.
"This guy (with the flag) lost the plot and started punching one guy in the head."
Another operator reported there were attempts to set off a flare.
Jane Jenkins, 49, who was selling glow-sticks, said she believed the violence was racially motivated.
She said she had earlier seen a "big" Aboriginal youth and a teenager wearing an Australian flag taunting each other before a fight broke out between the pair.
"You could see earlier in the night that trouble was going to break out," she said.
"There were no police officers there until after the event (the fighting)."
Port Adelaide Acting Superintendent Linda Fellows confirmed there was an "anecdotal report" of a flag being stomped and spat on before the violence flared.
But she said it would be speculation to link it to the "mass violence" that engulfed the beachside suburb.
"It would be irresponsible to say one alleged incident was the catalyst for an outbreak of mass violence," she said.
When pressed, she said: "It would be irresponsible to suggest we are in the midst of ethnic-related violence.
"The observation of the police officers that attended is that this was not ethnic-based fighting.
"Whether or not there was a flag related incident remains to be seen, but what followed was not about ethnic groups, it was more about alcohol-fuelled juveniles. What we don't want is to have people thinking this is out-of-control ethnic violence."
Some witnesses called the police response heavy-handed, but Acting Supt Fellows said it was a "proper police presence".
Aaron Nassaris, 18, who was at the scene, said teenagers wearing Australian flags had been shouting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" before the fight.
"The ethnics were getting ready to lay into them," he said yesterday.
"And the Aboriginals had a go at some of the Aussies and it was pretty much because of the alcohol.
"We were just sitting on the wall and then two guys got into a fight in the middle of the road, a few more ran in and the rest who were drinking got involved."
At 9.50pm, police were called after reports of fighting at the foreshore.
But, at 10.30pm, reinforcements, including 40 patrol cars from Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Holden Hill and Star Group, were ordered in as the violence escalated.
Police blocked off Semaphore Rd to westbound traffic and began herding 500 people along Semaphore Rd.
Caffe La Brezza employee Jess Downie, 18, said police chased people down Semaphore Rd. "People were just running away. There were people going in all directions to try and split up," she said.
"After the Cronulla riots (last year), everyone was expecting something like this to happen."
She said fighting continued as police pushed the crowd to Military Rd.
Three stores were damaged in the violence.
Police reported there were no injuries.
Semaphore Summer Carnival organiser Garry Lynch said he was unaware of any trouble where the amusements rides were located on the foreshore.
"There were around 1000 people here on the night and we had two security staff and the council provided another two working on the night," My Lynch said.
The festival continues today until 9pm but Mr Lynch said he did not expect any trouble.
Acting Supt Fellows said police would increase their presence in the area.