Brawls taint family friendly Moomba Festival for third year in a row

The family-friendly Moomba Festival has been marred by violence for a third consecutive year, with youths clashing in Melbourne CBD on the last day of the cultural festival.

A large police presence failed to stop the wild brawls between groups of youths outside St Paul’s Cathedral, with further violence at Federation Square and Flinders Street Station.

Police used capsicum spray twice to break up the fights, with three people arrested for assault and two more for drunken behaviour. Two more penalty notices were issued for riotous behaviour and weapons offences.

“It’s understood on each occasion two groups of youths began fighting before both Public Order Response Team and Uniform police immediately intervened … Police believe the three fights are linked,” said Victoria Police spokeswoman Alex Day.

Last night’s events had been likened to a “festival of police” by one witness, Speaking to the Herald Sun, a tourist from the United Kingdom who witnessed the scenes said he was put off coming to Melbourne again.

“I can’t even count, there’s more police here than actual people going to the station,” he said. “I don’t understand what they’re doing.”