It seems the streets of Sydney are still a long way from being free from violence as this weekend saw seven people charged by police following several brawls breaking out in Kings Cross early Sunday morning the 22nd of November.
The first brawl broke out between two groups on Bayswater Road, the mob turning on police when they attempted to intervene at around 2.30am.
It didn’t take long for more trouble to stir though, with police again being threatened by groups of revelers who swore at police and became violent. Spraying the offenders with capsicum spray, police made six arrests and charged the men with a range of offenses, two of the men, aged 19 and 21, charged with assaulting police.
That wasn’t the end of it though, with police being called to a third fight, again on Bayswater Road, where police were again assaulted.
“It was just the usual, people threatening to physically assault you or do horrible things to your family,” police inspector Pat Gooley told Sydney Morning Herald.
While the violence goes against the reported overall decrease of violence in Kings Cross since the introduction lockout laws, as Tyson Koh of Keep Sydney Open pointed out in our interview with him, a 32% decrease in violence with an 80% decrease in foot traffic means that violence is proportionally higher.
Considering that the incidents occurred on a weekend when the Cross was crowded again, Inspector Gooley explaining “there were a lot of people out last night, with people ending university exams, older high school students finishing, and as we move into the festive season,” it seems that Tyson may be right, and perhaps the lockouts have just swept the violence under the rug for a spell.
Meanwhile, 30 businesses have closed their doors in the Cross since the lockouts were introduced, as property developers snatch up businesses as commercial property prices fall while high end residential prices rise. While figures are still yet to be quantified, there have been an estimated 500 jobs lost across the city.
Posting to news to their Facebook, Keep Sydney Open wrote “the soul of Kings Cross has been ripped from it, businesses and jobs have been lost, yet there’s still violence. Knee-jerk policies have shonky results, and no one wins (apart from developers, of course).”
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) November 22, 2015