Police attacked, but local families spared Byron NYE drama

BYRON Shire Council's bid to entice local families back to Byron Bay on New Year's Eve was largely successful, however, police were later violently attacked by drunken partygoers.

Jonson St was closed to traffic and a carnival-like atmosphere established in Railway Park with children's activities, performances and artisan stalls attracting many families into the town centre in the afternoon.

Some - such as Federal mother Karen Eivers and her five-year-old daughter, Shanti Petersen - arrived on the Magic Bus, the council's trial park and ride service.

"I think (the bus) is a great incentive. It's good to know that we can leave whenever we feel like it," she said.

As the first wave of revellers arrived around 3pm, Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson appeared confident the night would go smoothly.

"It's only early, but it's all looking good," he said.

"This time last year we had people already drunk up at Main Beach.

"There's none of that up there now."

However, while the town's centre stayed calm and jovial early in the evening, police were later attacked in Apex Park, Main Beach.

"A crowd of around 3000 gathered at Apex Park expecting fireworks," Insp Darren Steele of Tweed/Byron Local Area Command said.

"Around 11pm a small number of the crowd started throwing bottles at police, striking, but not injuring, two officers and smashing a police vehicle window."

The fracas was under control by midnight and 19 people were arrested for offensive language, affray, assault, PCA, intoxication and graffiti.

"There were a lot of people on the streets and alcohol consumption is still an issue," Insp Steele said.



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