Northern Territory Police responded to a large disturbance on the oval at Wadeye at approximately 5pm on the 15th of May. 300 people clashed during a violent melee.
The remote community, with a population of approximately 3000, including 22 tribe groups with several different languages, is now one of the largest Indigenous communities in the NT. Blunt and edged melee weapons were used in the crowd fighting, with one adult male receiving an arm injury, whilst rocks were thrown at police vehicles.
The injured 26-year-old-male was conveyed to the local clinic with non-life-threatening injuries. Capsicum spray was deployed by police to assist with crowd dispersal, with Senior Sergeant Bradley Fox saying the following day, “Investigations are ongoing to assist with the identification and removal of offenders from the community.
“Attacks on our officers as they protect the community will not be tolerated.”
In-house fighting between rival gangs has been heavily escalating since February, with some of the gangs having existed for over 10 years within the Wadeye community.
Despite approximately 37 homes set alight and burned, including 10 newly built, an emergency has not been declared.
Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said locals were in ‘desperate situations’ which urgently needed to be addressed. ‘This means shelter, food, sanitation, and medication,’ she said. “It’s unacceptable what is taking place in Wadeye, in terms of hundreds of people being forced out of town and into surrounding homelands and bush camps.
Local NT member for Daly, Dheran Young, visited the town of Wadeye in early May to assess the violence and devastation saying to the community, ‘The conversations you and I have been having are important and I am absolutely here for you – even if you just need to sound off and vent to someone about how things are going.’
However, when the member for Daly gave his Budget Reply Speech in Parliament, the town of
Wadeye was not even mentioned, with no solutions put to Parliament within the budget.