NT police pelted with bottles while trying to spread coronavirus warnings

Police trying to disperse a large group because of coronavirus distancing concerns were pelted with bottles. File picture.
Police trying to disperse a large group because of coronavirus distancing concerns were pelted with bottles. File picture.

NT Police have come down strongly on one of the first cases of a large group flouting anti-distancing restrictions because of coronavirus fears.

About 150 people gathered at a camp near Alice Springs and refused police orders to disperse.

At one point, about 60 members of the group became aggressive towards the police and started throwing bottles.

Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker expressed his disappointment at the behaviour of the large group following a disturbance at Charles Creek camp at Alice Springs.

Police arrived to the camp about 3 this morning to see about 150 people gathering and displaying anti-social behaviour.

Police were explaining the restrictions relating to the COVID-19 virus and mass gatherings, when a group of around 60 people became aggressive towards police and started to throw bottles.

Police disengaged and requested further assistance.

The group dispersed as more police arrived.

Commissioner Jamie Chalker said this conduct towards police and reports of rocks being thrown at a St John ambulance and a taxi are 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.

"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.

"The sad reality is, the many moves we are making are based on the fact we know there is a vulnerable cohort living in the Northern Territory. We are taking many steps to ensure that those people have a significant likelihood of surviving COVID-19.

"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 last night is completely unacceptable.

"I'll certainly be making phone calls to key leaders that I know and have a great working relationship with.

"I am tapping into the Aboriginal leadership because there have been many messages being put out particularly through social media, many in language.

"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."

The NT Police Association said it was outraged to hear reports of blatant disregard for strict social distancing restrictions, and putting the safety of our members at risk, during an alcohol fuelled disturbance in Alice Springs overnight.

NTPA 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 is deplorable.

"It is clear from our member feedback that excessive amounts of alcohol have fuelled this disgusting behaviour, and we are pleased the Government will monitor the newly implemented restrictions on alcohol volume sales that came into place yesterday in Western Australia."

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This story Police pelted with bottles while trying to spread coronavirus warnings first appeared on Katherine Times.


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