Crowds throw stones, bottles and bricks at police during riots in Perth CBD

Carly Higgins, who runs the shoe bar in Yagan Square on Wellington Street by Perth Train Station, said she closed the bar early when police began to gather.

Higgins told 6PR police they were gathering near Horseshoe Bridge and within 20 minutes of closing officers “rolled through” to break up the gathering.

“You [could] to see normal guests trying to get through the square and being verbally abused and it wasn’t a very nice place,” she said.

“At the beginning of the night, maybe around 8:30 p.m., I almost got thrown out of a chair, so it kind of started.”

Higgins said she was verbally abused by people, drinks were stolen from the bar and she found someone in the downstairs cafe that was closed.

She said people drinking outside of legal areas in the square the bar overlooked weren’t improving the situation.

A few hours later, around 2am on Friday, police were called to Moore Street in East Perth, near McIver train station, to receive further reports of a mass brawl and people armed with paving stones, bricks and even a tomahawk.

Police in Northbridge work to disperse crowds on Australia Day.

Police in Northbridge work to disperse crowds on Australia Day.Credit:night news

A runaway gathering was called and the regional operations group was called again to disperse the crowd.

Royce said people in the crowd pulled broken cobblestones off the ground and threw them at officers.

“Two of our officers were injured, thankfully not seriously,” Royce said

“One had a dislocated shoulder… and one had minor facial injuries from a scuffle.”

Despite the date, Royce said none of the incidents were related to nearby Australia Day celebrations or protests earlier in the day.

“It’s certainly not related to protest activities or mainstream groups or anything like that,” he said.

“It was just really bad behavior by a subset of the community that didn’t go home with the majority of the crowd.”

Police are continuing to investigate the incidents and are reviewing CCTV and body-worn footage of the beating.


The lack of an apparent link between the riots and Australia Day didn’t stop acting President of the WA Police Union Paul Gale from issuing a statement early Friday condemning what he saw as escalating political violence.

“I have a simple message for anyone considering using political violence against a police officer: If you have a problem with the politicians, take it to the ballot box,” he said.

“Don’t take it out on cops who work unsocial hours and do their best to protect property and keep the community safe.”

The tumultuous end of the bank holiday was followed by a subdued day of celebrations along the coast, including for the Perth City Light Show.

Invasion Day rallies also took place in the CBD, joining the chorus of protests across Australia demanding a change to the public holiday.

Australia Day attendance in Perth has declined over the years as sentiment has shifted towards the National Day and as community spending on public events has declined.

with AAP

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Callan Tansill

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