Community Condemns Violence After Riot Police Called On Sudanese Youths
Riot police called on Sudanese youths in Melbourne
The Sudanese youths warring over girlfriends who threw rocks and damaged a police car during an aggressive confrontation in Melbourne's northwest have been condemned by their community.
South Sudanese community representative Maker Mayek said the "regrettable" incident could be traced back to a Facebook post flagging the fight.
"It was a very, very unfortunate situation and it's one that we as members of the community really do denounce," Mr Mayek told Sky News on Thursday.
"No-one should feel unsafe in their homes. I've seen people saying their children were terrified. This is an absolutely horrific thing to see.
"It's not the African community, it's not the Africans in general, these are young people from the South Sudanese community, and we want to make it clear no one condones their actions."
The youths met at Watergardens Shopping Centre in Taylors Lakes on Wednesday for the fight on Wednesday before management called police who moved on them on.
They then took public transport to Lonzo Park in Taylors Hill and threw "a number of projectiles" before riot police were called and again moved them on.
The melee, which was over girlfriends, involved about 20 to 30 Sudanese Australians from Melbourne's south and north, Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said.
"You can call them gangs ... but if you think of them as gangs it's not the way we tend to respond to them as they don't have the traditional thing that we think [gang] groups have," he told ABC radio.
"These are groups that use social media."
Taylors Hill residents told of their fear after the confrontation took place.
"The kids were out of control. Police were not able to do much," one man told Nine Network.
Some were dressed in their school uniforms.
"It was just appalling behaviour, completely unacceptable ... a large group causing a bit of fear and uncertainty in the community," Police Minister Lisa Neville told reporters.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the rapid police response to the situation was appropriate.
"It would have been very, very distressing for local residents and they can be assured we will continue to provide Victoria Police with every single thing they need in order to fight crime and make the community safer," he told reporters.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said it was an "absolute disgrace" and "not something we should be accepting in 21st century Melbourne".
"It highlights to every Victorian what the crisis is in our city around law and order," he told reporters.
Victoria Police expect to make arrests in coming days.
No-one was injured in the clash although the rear window of the police car was smashed.