WHEN I SAW A TERRORISM ATTACK LIKE SITUATION AT CBD MELBOURNE AT AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
MY FIRST DAY AT CBD MELBOURNE STARTED ON A HORRIBLE NOTE!
The next day when I arrived at the CBD Melbourne aka Melbourne City Centre or ‘The City’, as soon as I stepped foot at the buzzing Flinders Street Metro station, I was greeted with crowds of different ethnicity. The polyglot city that it is, I was pulled into people -watching before I realized I had limited time and lots to see. I exited the station, passed few beggars who had ignored the leftover colas and burgers commuters had left for them on the public telephone stands. On the other end, some food company decided that distributing free packets of ready to eat food as their marketing strategy on a big day would do wonders to them. They offered one to me too. I didn’t take it because being a strict vegetarian, in foreign countries I am never sure about what the food contains. More so, if they are giving it for free by the roadside. Hidden Chicken stock? Fish? Worse- powdered fish? I declined it politely when a hue and cry won my attention.
OF DRUNK MEN AND FOOTBALL MATCH!
As I passed an ugly glass and metal building near Federation Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral, I saw a sudden commotion at one of the busiest intersections of Melbourne. The commotion had nothing to do with the big football match that was underway. Or maybe it did. I arrived on the day when a major football game kept the entire city busy and uncontrolled. I didn’t plan it but I found myself in the middle of all the chaos that The 2017 AFL Grand Final was. The Australian Football League is quite popular. The final match was between the Adelaide Crows and the Richmond Tigers. It was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the day I visited, viz. 30 September 2017.Drunk and excited whites behaved badly on road, singing loudly and aggressively. Women and children were more sober, but gung-ho and excited nevertheless. And someone wanted to take an advantage of the suspension of order and civil behavior by masses. Perhaps.
WAS IT A TERRORIST ATTACK IN MELBOURNE-KNIFE IN MY CAR
The police had nabbed a criminal, armed with knives in his car. The culprit drove recklessly, speeding away in reverse, allegedly threatening random people and trying to run over them. A major security incident shook the city even though the drama was over in few minutes. I watched in silence from behind the Law Enforcement Tape or Police Tape barrier marked to keep the civilians away from the crime scene. I asked a few bystanders what exactly is going on. Someone said, knife. Someone else said, gun. No one was sure.
SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!
It was around 8 a.m. A Saturday! The bystanders shouted at the police and shouted, “Shoot him. Shoot him!” The area was cordoned off by bomb squad and the Victoria Police critical incident squad. No one was injured despite the culprit almost ran over pedestrians or bumped into footpaths, cyclists or trams in the Federation Square and Flinders Street station. Later, he emerged out of the car (green Toyota RAV 4) armed with a bicycle pump as pedestrians ran for their life. He challenged the police to ‘come for him’. Since it was early morning, the footfall was quite low than what I had seen in the evening while returning. Wearing a helmet and dressed in a black military dress, he appeared like a terrorist. With so many cases of Islamic terrorists driving over pedestrians in different countries of Europe, it was easy for Victorians to believe that it was their turn now. Perhaps they saw it coming!
However, it turned out that he was a teen with mental illness. He was immediately subdued when the police tasered him and later sent for rehabilitation.
I watched the drama unfold for sometimes. It was just the second day of my first international solo trip. I had already seen too much crime by now. After a horrifying rendezvous with a wild drug addict in the public washrooms of Melbourne, this was not what I was looking for next.
I reminded myself that I am in the most liveable city of the world. I gave a grimace of wry amusement and hoped that the things will be better as the day passed.
Post this event, I enjoyed CBD area of Melbourne all day, sometimes overjoyed with new discoveries but mostly disappointed with what the famous city had to offer! While returning, I visited the crime scene again. It was still not a normal place. There were even more drunk than they were earlier. Predictably , the unruly men behaved loudly, emboldened by the win of the team they were rooting for all day. The supporters of losing team sulked. Melbourne, I found, was one big crazy city. Or maybe I was at the wrong place at wrong time.
I was too confused to take pictures or make videos of the incident. You can read more about this incident and check out related pictures and videos here
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