Fancy-dress brawl erupts at Australia darts contest
Fans dressed as Batman, Santa Claus, medieval knights and Oompa Loompas were pictured tussling in local media Sunday, some brandishing chairs while others lay on the ground, and still more cheering and yelling.
The incident erupted as Dutch world number one Michael van Gerwen was playing Australia’s Simon Whitlock before 4,500 people at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne late Saturday, forcing them to halt their match.
“It was a total disgrace!! I want my $400 back and answers!!!” fan Rosemary Grant said on Facebook, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that alcohol was flowing freely without restriction.
“You could buy as much as you wanted!! Embarrassed for Melbourne and Australia!!! The security was a shambles from the beginning and needs an overhauling!! Still shaking 13 hours later!” she said.
Audience members at the Darts Invitational Challenge told media the violence started when some people in the crowd tried to build a pyramid out of chairs.
Video footage posted on social media showed plastic chairs and some tables being thrown towards a growing pile of furniture in the middle of the audience, as security guards looked on.
One unidentified witness told Melbourne’s The Age: “It was an absolute mess, drunken idiots that were getting bored and looking for a bit of excitement.”
Some fans urinated in the middle of the stadium floor, according to the Herald Sun.
Organisers said they brought forward a scheduled break in play so that the stadium security and police could deal with the crowd.
Police said they were called to the stadium after receiving reports of the chair pyramid being built.
“We helped to calm the situation down and stayed until the end of the event,” a police spokesman told AFP, adding that there were no reports of assaults and no-one had been arrested or charged at this stage.
There were also no injuries, according to local media.
Another spectator told The Age that van Gerwen, who went on to win the match, had a look of “pure disgust” at the chaos.
Stadium organisers said in a statement that the “senseless behaviour of the mindless minority was deplorable and their wanton acts of destruction an absolute disgrace”.
The stadium’s chief executive Paul Sargeant said there would be a review of the incident, but added that the images circulating on social media “make the situation look worse that it really was”. – AFP