'Police started it' claims nightclub at epicentre of Carlton riot

Kate Jones

Riot police have been called following a brawl that erupted outside a Melbourne night club on the weekend.

But members of the African community who were there have blamed police for igniting the tensions.

Police vehicles lined Queensbury Street in Carlton at 5.30am as reports came in that 250 people were brawling in the street.

Ambulance officers treat a person hurt in the brawl. Photo: 7 News

One woman was injured and several people were arrested.

This morning officers returned to collect CCTV as they prepared to fine five people for riotous behaviour.

The nightclub manager was keen to distance his venue from the brawl. He admitted some of the people present had been in the club but said all of the trouble occurred on the other side of the road.

Some at the scene have blamed police for igniting tensions. Photo: 7 News

The nightclub promoters have gone even further, suggesting the trouble was caused by police rather than patrons.

They say it wasn’t a case of police responding to a brawl but rather officers were already there when the crowd emerged from the venue.

“To be greeted with that sort of aggression was really unnecessary and I think it was an abuse of power,” Stephen Tongun told 7 News.

Amid heightened tensions, scuffles broke out.

Abiel Abiel claims he was unnecessarily capsicum sprayed.

Police returned to the scene today to collect CCTV footage. Photo: 7 News

“The police are like, can you guys go?” he said.

“I’m like, you guys need to politely start talking to people. Police pull out pepper spray, start spraying people.”

This brawl comes a week after another involving African youths at Seaford.

The group is frustrated that the actions of a minority impact on the reputation of their community.

“We are tired of being misrepresented,” Abiel said.

He has called fro police to have a greater understanding of their culture.