Alice Springs curfew to be extended throughout school holidays

Unrest in Alice Springs ahead of curfew

Source: ABC News

Alice Springs’ youth curfew will be extended for a further week, as authorities hail the “encourage results” from an initial two-week ban.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said the extension to April 15 would mean the curfew would last throughout the NT’s school holidays.

“We’ve seen very encouraging results with introduction of the youth curfew,” she said.

Imposed on March 27 when the NT government declared an emergency following escalating violence in the red centre, the curfew bans anyone under 18 from entering the Alice Springs town centre between 6pm-6am without a valid reason.

It was originally intended as a “circuit breaker”, but Lawler said it was important for the town not to lose momentum.

“We’re taking a common-sense approach to improving community safety in Alice Springs,” she said.

“Work is being done right now to ensure that the community is prepared for when the curfew ends and we continue to have a strong presence from police, Territory Families and the Department of Education.”

Tuesday’s announcement follows a meeting of senior NT bureaucrats on Monday to discuss extending the curfew, which had been due to end on Wednesday.

School holidays tend to see an influx of young people into Alice from surrounding communities.

Police Minister Brent Potter said police would continue to work closely with Territory Families and other agencies once the curfew was lifted.

The initial 14-day curfew was imposed as part of an emergency declaration to quell a conflagration of violence in the desert town.

Rising tensions were inflamed by the death of an 18-year-old in a fatal car accident in early March. He died after hanging out of the window of a stolen car that rolled over in the Alice Springs CBD and was left there by the driver and passengers.

Hostilities between families exploded when a large group attacked the Todd Tavern, leaving a $30,000 damage bill.

Brawls continued later in the night as family members mourned the death, with up to 150 people clashing in town camps. Police made several arrests and seized more than 50 weapons, including spears, axes and clubs.

Lawler called the emergency declaration the next day, imposing the curfew and deploying an extra 58 police officers to the town.

South Australian police officers will also be sent to Alice Springs to support their NT counterparts.

The NT opposition called on the government to extend the curfew until the end of April and give police more teeth to hold parents accountable.

“The curfew can’t just be a drop off service, forcing our police to run around in circles,” shadow treasurer Bill Yan said.

“It has to be a curfew with consequences.”

-with AAP

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