Events

Summernats organisers condemn attack on police near event

The organisers of Summernats car festival have distanced themselves from an incident nearby the event which saw rocks and beer bottles thrown at police officers.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez has condemned the behaviour of a crowd near Summernats car festival, telling the Canberra Times the incident “puts us at risk as an event”.

Police were called to Eaglehawk, according to ABC News, near the ACT border and seven kilometres from the festival’s Exhibition Park venue, about 11:45pm on Friday.

Upon arrival, they found around 2,000 people – many of whom were thought to have attended Summernats over the weekend – and 500 cars reportedly driving dangerously.

When police attempted to break up the incident, they were “pelted” with beer bottles and rocks, according to multiple reports, and were forced to flee the scene.

One officer suffered minor injuries, while two police cars were left with broken windshields.

Summernats is one of Australia’s best known annual car shows, occurring each year in Canberra.

Speaking to local news, Lopez said if an entrant car could be identified from those involved in the incident, they would face sanctions.

“If an entrant car can be identified by police to us, we would definitely sanction them,” he told the Canberra Times.

“That would include prohibiting them from bringing their car to future events entering the event in the future.

“It makes myself and the other members of the team here really upset to see that stuff,” he said.

“It puts us at risk as an event. But it’s not all about us. It puts [the drivers] themselves, their passengers and the people who are standing around those cars at risk. And it puts innocent drivers who just happen to be around [at risk].

“What happens is that everyone [at Summernats] gets tarred with that brush.”

Image: Supplied by NSW Police Force (Facebook)

The timing of the event has also been criticised, having occured amid ongoing bushfires, which are gripping much of the east coast of Australia.

Monaro Poice District Acting Superintendent Neil Grey on Saturday condemned the crowd’s behaviour, saying it sucked up scarce resource during the bushfire emergency.

“It is appalling how, at a time when the state’s south is facing serious bushfire threat, some individuals choose to conduct themselves in such a reckless manner,” Grey told The Daily Telegraph.

Featured image: Supplied by NSW Police Force (Facebook)

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