As a heat wave has swept Melbourne these past few days, so has the African crime wave which has returned for another summer. It began with three violent incidents at St Kilda Beach involving gang assaults and robberies perpetrated by youths described as being of African in appearance.
In response to public alarm at the continued violence Victoria Police launched Operation Sandsafe to patrol beaches busy beaches. There has also been 10 new CCTV cameras installed at St Kilda Beach.
St Kilda Beach hasn’t been the only metropolitan Melbourne Beach which has been plagued by violent incidents involving youths of African appearance. On Thursday 6th December on the first night of Operation Sandsafe at St Kilda Beach, over at Chelsea Beach further down Port Phillip Bay riot police and the dog squad had to be deployed break up a large group of African youths who were brawling.
On Thursday night this week trouble started again at Chelsea Beach, first at 6pm a brawl erupted between a group two groups of Lebanese and Turkish beach revelers over a dispute over a jet ski. The Police Public Order Response unit was deployed.
Then at 9.30pm a group of youths of African appearance began pocketing the unattended belongings of swimmers on the beach. A swimmer who confronted the thieves was assaulted, another was struck in the head with a glass bottle and was taken to hospital while two others had to be treated by paramedics at the beach.
On Friday evening over at St Kilda Beach Neil Erikson and Ricky Turner of Cooks Convicts were present to observe the state of public order and began filming a group of African youths who were playing soccer over a walkway and were told to move on by police.
They became agitated by Erikson and Turner’s presence and police asked them to stop filming which they refused, arguing it was their democratic freedom to do so in a public place. One African was capsicum sprayed and arrested and is expected to be charged on summons with assaulting police, resisting arrest and failing to move on when directed.
Erikson is now promoting a rally next Saturday to reclaim St Kilda beach, the details of which have been posted. There has been talk all summer from various nationalist figures that citizen patrols should take place on St Kilda Beach to stem the violence and unrest.
Police Minister Lisa Neville is aiming to reassure the public that our beaches are safe telling the media “I encourage everyone to go down to their local beach. They will see police out patrolling every afternoon and into the evenings on days like this”.
Neville also condemned Erikson’s activism “racism itself does not make any of us safer” vowing “People who attempt to incite — whatever their background — incite violence … should be held to account by police and the law” and that “I want people to let police get on and do their job of keeping our beaches and our streets safe, which they do a great job of”.
Another violent incident involving African youths occurred in St Albans in Melbourne’s West when local Vietnamese shop owners frustrated with a string of local thefts confronted the African youths with chairs and pieces of wood used as weapons during the subsequent brawl.
Six African youths were arrested and are expected to be charged with theft and array. The local Vietnamese community in the area who fought back have vented their frustration with the African youth terrorizing them on social media and the lack of police response “Soon there will be machetes and guns out. And they will wonder why there is blood” while another suggested “Time to set up the Asian patrol squad.”
The response from Victoria Police to these posts was to let them deal with these offenders with Supt. David Jones stating “We would say to those communities, it is the job of Victoria Police to prosecute these matters and not any other community group or any other individuals to take the law into their hands”.
African youth violence has not been confined to Melbourne this summer with a group of them attacking shoppers at Perth’s Murray Street Mall at the Boxing Day sales. Brisbane is also dealing with rising African youth crime after two violent car-jackings on consecutive nights before Christmas.
While police are increasing their presence in Melbourne and arrests and charges are being made, it is when they get to court where the lesson in justice fails.
But governments, even the progressive just re-elected Andrews Labor Government is learning that the public expect that when they go out this summer they have a right to feel safe and thugs should feel the full force of the law.