What the fuck were the police thinking?

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In the space of five days, Melbourne has become notoriously famous for two things: a) Corey ‘my sunnies are too cool for Hollywood’ Delaney and b) the violent confrontation that marred a good match in the Australian Open.

I enjoy a good game of tennis. I’ve watched it for many years and have even attended a Grand Slam (Australian Open) myself. The atmosphere in most matches are very friendly, and in some cases where the support is fanatical, you get that football (the world game, sorry Aussies) vibe. Everyone is cheering and good-natured, and when taunts are heard, they’re always in the native tongue.

In the Gonzalez-Economidis game, it’s clear that the Greek fans were chanting in Greek. Unless you’re Greek, you wouldn’t understand what they’re saying. Sure, it got a little unruly. And they were drawing striking similarities to Gonzalez and a homosexual. So what? It’s all part of competitiveness. Gonzalez was playing his game. No complaints from him whatsoever.

By using capsicum spray on the crowd. the police have crossed a dangerous line. Whatever happened to ejecting spectators like they’ve always done on cricket or footy days? Spray lingers in the air, and many spectators – including the innocent ones – were caught by the plumes of spray. Imagine what would have happened if the affected crowd ran for the exit, effectively creating a minor stampede. Now think what would happen if children, pregnant women or the elderly were involved. Safety in the Australian Open? I think not. The game would have been effectively over had it happened.

This is a debacle. The Greek fans are now threatening to sue the police. I say go for it. This was nowhere as threatening as last year’s Serbian-Croatian racial uproar on Day 1. This was just fanatical support for their Greek players.

I hope the authorities do not start implementing a ‘sit-down’ ruling in future Australian Open. Any passionate followers of English football would know that the top-tiers of English football have removed free standing areas. The atmosphere is no longer the same. You can’t cheer as voraciously.

Let’s see what happens in the next few days. Should be an interesting Open.

Image from The Age

5 Comments so far

  1. Neil (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

    The video is more telling of the story then The Age describes. It shows a crowd of angry spectators with about 2 of them who were about to fight the police. In this case, due to a perceived threat of violence, they were authorized to use spray although stupid.

    For all of those who are going to sue…wahhhhh. It was capsicum spray not bullets (thankfully). Very stupid to use capsicum spray in a crowd , outside, when windy.

    You are correct about footy, I don’t know why they don’t apply the same tactics as they do at the footy and cricket. Strength in numbers, escort the spectator our, chant “you are a wanker”.


  2. Jack (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

    This might change a few minds:

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/tennis/no-regrets-over-spray/2008/01/16/1200419872880.html

    I would back the words of a senior policeman over the words of unruly stubborn spectators. Did you think police want to divert attention to themselves in such an international event? If the crowd is being abusive by spitting, throwing bottles at the police and refusing to exit the stadium, the police has the right to defend themselves and to control the situation by the means they see as appropriate. I’m sure no pepper spray would have been used if the offenders co operated with the police.

    Organisers pledged pre-tournament that rowdy behaviour will not be tolerated and police responded to reinforce that message.

    Those who are causing trouble should stop acting like victims and start realising how idiotic they really are.

    Also, I find it extremely unnecessary to include an expletive in your blog title. I wouldn’t have raised this issue if it was a personal blog but your entry is under the ‘Metroblog’ brand, an image which the other bloggers share. It simply unnecessary and demonstrates how immature you are.


  3. adrock2xander (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 11:34 pm

    Again, the word fuck raises her ugly head. Metroblogging co-creator Sean Bonner advocates the usage of the word. I use it liberally in my daily lingo. No problems there.

    I could go on and start a flame-fest. Too many of my posts have gotten hate mail and I’m not about to start now when the antagonist is a small, closeted self-righteous bloke.


  4. squirt (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

    Instead of using capsicum spray, the police should consider using paintballs. More specifically, permanent stain paintballs. Right in the face. Different colours for different days. Then they can refuse entry to people with stains on their faces on subsequent days.


  5. tim sydney (unregistered) on October 13th, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    the police are damn idiots, they did this inside a nightclub and everyone got the capsicum spray. The worse ones effected were the police because they were near most of it.

    You don’t get many bright kids at school saying i want to be a police offer, so i guess this is what happens…..



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