Curfew order after alarming violence in Alice Springs

Violent attacks in Alice Springs

Source: ABC News

A two-week youth curfew has been imposed in Alice Springs following a series of violent brawls as tensions escalate after the death of a teenager in the town.

Hundreds of people have been involved in disputes in recent days, including a chaotic attack on a local pub, the Todd Tavern, involving up to 70 people on Tuesday afternoon.

“If someone is under the age of 18 and they are seen out in the town centre, they will be taken home or taken to a safe place,” Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said in announcing the curfew on Wednesday.

The 6pm-6am curfew will begin on Wednesday. An additional 50 or so police and liquor inspectors will also be sent to the town.

“The scenes we law last night and yesterday afternoon absolutely warrant us stepping up and stepping in around a curfew,” Lawler said

“It’s going to be difficult for us to manage a curfew but I think the people in Alice expect government to step up and that’s what we’re doing.”

Earlier, NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said the group involved in the pub attack was from the Utopia region, north-west of Alice Springs, and was in town commemorating the death of a family member earlier this month.

On March 8, an 18-year-old died after hanging out of the window of a stolen car that rolled over in the Alice Springs CBD.

He was crushed and killed by the vehicle and left there by the driver and other passengers.

Murphy said the brawl had left the Todd Tavern owners with a more than $30,000 damage bill.

“Young people involved in that ceremony took it upon themselves to go to the Todd Tavern where some other family members were that they didn’t share a harmonious relationship with, and then started attacking the premises with rocks and bricks,” he said.

Footage of the incident has been shared widely on social media, and depicts several young people throwing themselves at the glass doors of the pub.

Pub staffer Craig Jervis said the violence was the worst he had seen.

“The ferocity in which they were trying to get in and the willingness to damage everything [and] anything was very scary,” he told the ABC.

“They [were using] branches and metal bars and throwing rocks and bricks through our windows … we just sort of barricaded ourselves in.”

Cars in the area were also smashed and hit with rocks and bricks and a 16 and 18-year-old were arrested at the location.

Later on Tuesday night, the ceremony was continuing at Hidden Valley town camp outside Alice Springs when more than 150 people were involved in a violent brawl.

“Family were undertaking some further ceremony, and the opposing family then came outside that camp and about 150 people engaged in a violent confrontation with numerous weapons tomahawks axes, knives and clubs,” Murphy said.

The brawl resulted in broken windows, smoke damage to a house and a car set on fire.

Three people aged 19, 31 and 50 have been arrested.

Murphy said he was fed up with the rising crime rates in Alice Springs.

“People have had a gutful and frankly so have I, around some of the behaviours we’re seeing in town, unacceptable behaviours, or lack of authority or lack of respect for authority,” he said.

He said NT Police were reviewing footage of the incidents and were preparing to make more arrests.

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson took to social media to express his frustration with the violence.

“Horrendous doesn’t cut it, but I have run out of words,” he said.

“I don’t know if there is a big enough rooftop to scream from – that we need help.

“To the people who were locked in buildings today, to the people who were affected with damage or weapons, my thoughts are with you. ”

Paterson has previously called for federal assistance or a military intervention in the desert town.

The violence comes a day after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly bashed by a group of other girls, with the footage shared widely on social media.

Senator Jacinta Price made an impassioned plea on Tuesday for federal parliament to step in.

“I want this chamber and the Australian people to know that traditional cultural payback, otherwise known as vigilantism, has no place in our society in 2024,” she said.

“Those responsible for the millions of dollars going to the services in my community, need to do their part to stop this kind of behaviour in our community.”

-with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.