Police fury as mass gathering flouts virus safety rules


POLICE Commissioner Jamie Chalker has pleaded for "leadership" and "common sense" from the public after a group of 150 people gathered.

Police were called to Charles Creek camp - an Alice Springs town camp - about 3am Thursday morning where they came across the large group "displaying anti-social behaviour.".

Commissioner Chalker said the officers attempted to explain the restrictions on mass gatherings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic when about 60 people became aggressive and started to throw rocks and bottles.

Police were forced to retreat and call for back-up, at which point the group dispersed.

Commissioner Chalker said the conduct towards police and reports of rocks being thrown at a St John Ambulance and a taxi was completely unacceptable.

"Frontline responders are leading the way to ensure the safety of people and to save lives.

"We have no time for ignorance. We need everyone to bond together," he said.






"Mass gatherings go completely against the national messaging and the high importance that everyone is placing around self-quarantine at the moment, ensuring appropriate social distancing.

Northern Territory Police Association president Paul McCue said the rigorous new social distancing guidelines are in place to stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, and for sections of the community to simply ignore that advice was deplorable.

"It is clear from our member feedback that excessive amounts of alcohol have fuelled this disgusting behaviour."






Commissioner Chalker said the reality was the restrictions and other measures put in place was based on the fact we know there was a vulnerable population in the NT.

He called for leadership from Aboriginal leaders to help in these unprecedented times.

"We are taking many steps to ensure that those people have a significant likelihood of surviving COVID-19," he said.

"Many are Aboriginal people, and I need leadership in those communities to make sure that there is a higher level of education and awareness because the behaviour that we saw (Thursday morning) is completely unacceptable."

"It is beyond comprehension that nobody among that 150 in particular, or those who are parents or guardians of those juveniles, would have no awareness of COVID-19, nor the strict measures we have moved to."




Originally published as Police fury as mass gathering flouts COVID-19 safety rules

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