Police are investigating after up to 200 people were involved in a violent brawl during a record label launch party in Melbourne on Saturday night.
Police were called to The Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood at 2:45am on Sunday morning, following reports of a brawl at the launch event for independent music label 66 Records.
As the ABC reports, police said the fight broke out inside the venue, before spilling onto nearby Mater Street.
During the brawl, a car crashed into parked cars and pinned an 18-year-old man to another vehicle, leaving him with serious injuries. It is not yet clear if he was involved in the brawl, police said.
In total, six men between the ages of 18 and 21 were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“At the moment we have one main offender who was the driver of the car, and then there’s potentially some other people who are key persons of interest,” said Victoria Police Commander Tim Hansen.
In the lead up to the label launch show, event organisers told ticket-holders, “There will be hired security so troublemakers be aware, we all looking to have a good time.”
In a message posted to Facebook before the event, 66 Records’ “active manager” J-Nelly told ticket-holders to “be mindful of your surroundings and understand violence will not be tolerated”.
He also said organisers had met with “federal detectives, who are very concerned with the energy, which they have related to the latest sparks of new reports degrading the African community”.
Police said they were actively monitoring the event.
“History shows us that the demographic of the crowd we’re talking about, so it’s primarily Pacific Islanders and African-Australians… because of that, because it’s an event in the CBD or immediate surrounds, it’s not uncommon for us to task police units to keep a close eye on certain locations,” Commander Hansen said.
“There was no intelligence leading into that that it was going to be a particular high-risk event for us so it’s come from left field as far as the escalating [of] the behaviour.”
Fairfax Media reports that sources have claimed police declined a request for more resources at the label launch, despite allegedly being told a rival group was planning to gatecrash the party.
Among the acts performing on the night were Pronto, Jaye, Baby T, King Ace and MTK.
Police are urging any with information regarding the brawl to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.