Sydney: usual Friday and Saturday punch-ups

October 29, 2007, Daily Telegraph
Random violence has city in fear

RANDOM acts of violence across Sydney has the broader population in fear. A stunning poll result on our site today reveals nearly 70 per cent of people don't feel safe on the city's streets after dark on weekends.

The poll has attracted more than 2600 votes today, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they tend to stay at home and out of harm's way ...

The poll was prompted by Sydney's anger streak hitting critical levels with a weekend of brawls, a bar thrashing and battling drunks has worsened with a savage armed robbery where a man's head was bashed with a gun.

The rising violence comes as hospital emergency departments report being inundated with as many injured patients as they would in December, considered the peak fighting season.

Surgeon Gordian Fulde, a spokesman for the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, said the rise in violence started during the October long weekend and has not let off.

"We're very amazed at how the levels have risen," he said.

"We're seeing levels in inner city emergency departments that you would normally see (until) mid-December and it hasn't eased off at all." ...

There were three separate wild brawls in the CBD and The Rocks that left police tied up for hours yesterday morning.

The worst involved 40 people, split into two groups of Asian and Pacific Islander men, throwing chairs and overturning tables as they attacked each other in the Golden Palace Hotel in Haymarket about 3am.

Police who have seen security footage described it as "chaos" with the hotel's security left floundering.

Tarek Nassr, a security guard who patrols Dixon st, said he saw knives on some and that "I tried to calm them down, then bang".

One witness, who asked not to be named, said men from each group were on opposite sides of the dance floor making pistol shapes at each other with their hands before the fight ...

In a separate incident, 10 men were arrested after they assaulted police who stopped them after a window was smashed at the Cruise Bar in The Rocks about 1.30am.

Separately, 16 officers wrestled with up to 20 men who fought for more than 30 minutes from World Square shopping centre to George St about 6am.

Those violent scenes, played out in a city promoting itself as a "city of villages", were simply the stand-outs among more fights which police described as the "usual Friday and Saturday night punch-ups" ...

Dr Fulde predicted that the number of stabbing victims being operated on at St Vincents Hospital will be double that of last year by December.

And in the latest incident of violent crime on Sydney streets, two men robbed another man at gunpoint and assaulted him before fleeing with a substantial sum of cash in the city's south-west ...
That's the sound of violent air rushing into a cultural vacuum. That's the smell of fatalistic normality in a diverse place that nobody feels they own, so nobody cares too much about it. And barely a word about causes and solutions, except to ratchet-up security and hunker-down like good little turtles.

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