Post footy brawl occupies police until dawn
By WILL JACKSON
KEBAB shop owner Mehmet Emin Uysal said Saturday night's melee in Lismore's CBD was the worst example of mob violence he had ever seen.
And he only witnessed what happened directly in front of his shop.
Police yesterday revealed they were caught off guard by the sheer aggression of the brawlers.
Officers rostered on to monitor crowds at the NRL rugby league game at Oakes Oval were forced to stay on to deal with the aftermath.
Mr Uysal, who owns the takeaway restaurant in Keen Street, said he saw one fight break out around 2am in which more than a dozen people were injured and at least one man was stomped on.
He said the majority of the hundreds milling around in the streets were extremely drunk.
While violence was common on weekends, he said Saturday night was much worse than normal.
At least one person was taken to hospital following a fight involving 20-30 people in Woodlark Street around 10.45pm.
Police broke up more than 20 brawls that continued to erupt until 5.30am on Sunday.
Over the course of the night two women and two men were arrested on various assault and affray charges. They will appear in Lismore Local Court on March 12.
However, the number of people arrested could have been far greater.
Police were simply unable to detain everyone involved in the brawls and began issuing 'move on' notices instead.
At one point officers blockaded Woodlark Street with patrol cars to contain the violence.
Crime prevention officer Michael Hogan said all aspects of the night would be reviewed.
"The game was good and the crowd was great," he said. "But the melee afterwards was disappointing."
Senior Constable Hogan said he believed a large number of the people involved in the fights had not even gone to the game earlier.
He said police resources were stretched dealing with the crowds as well as the normal Saturday evening workload.