Family feud behind tensions in Logan: police
Police are stepping up patrols in Logan but downplaying the latest flare up of violence in the area as a family feud.
Racial tensions between Aboriginals and South Pacific Islanders have been blamed for violent clashes south of Brisbane over the weekend.
It's alleged several carloads of Pacific Islanders arrived at a house in Woodridge with weapons including machetes, bats and poles in the early hours of Sunday morning.
VIDEO: LOGAN FLARE UP CAPTURED ON CAMERA
RAW VISION: Amateur vision shows police clashing with rival groups in Woodridge early Sunday morning.
WARNING: contains explicit language.
Logan District Superintendent Noel Powers said the fight was between two families, and it was just a coincidence they happened to be different races.
Police will be stepping up their patrols of the area until they are confident the situation has calmed down.
Superintendent Powers attributed part of the blame for the escalating violence to social media, saying irresponsible posts were causing tempers to flare.
‘‘Where it starts from I don't know, it starts as a fact, a piece of evidence,’’ he said.
‘‘[The] rumour [mill] picks it up, takes it all over the place.
‘‘Social media, Facebook, Twitter, emails, is really ruining all the work we do.
‘‘Rumours, innuendo, just gossip are really killing everything."
Premier appeals for calm
Premier Campbell Newman has urged Logan residents to ‘‘cool it down a bit’’ after reports of racial tension between South Pacific and Aboriginal groups in Woodridge overnight.
‘‘I just ask people to cool it down a bit,’’ the Premier said.
‘‘There is no need for this sort of aggro. We can all get on together and that is what I am asking people to do.’’
Mr Newman will receive a briefing from Police Commissioner Ian Stewart later today. Police Minister Jack Dempsey said he had already spoken to Commissioner Stewart.
‘‘I just implore everybody to take it calmly,’’ Mr Dempsey said.
Mr Dempsey said additional police liaison officers have already been sent to Logan and set up a cultural liaison unit in the city.
Police said two males had been arrested over a disturbance on Sunday night.
A 17-year-old and a 21-year-old, both from Slacks Creek, have been charged with causing a public nuisance and obstructing police.
They will appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court, the teenager on January 28 and the man on February 28.
Community leader's protest
But Aboriginal elder Greg Barlow said the two arrested were indigenous, labelling the move unfair because the Aboriginal community had not instigated the matter.
“Not one of [the Pacific Islanders] got arrested, two indigenous boys got arrested,” Mr Barlow told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“It’s not fair.”
Mr Barlow said there had been tensions simmering between the communities for some time, and attempts to reconcile through elder forums had failed in the past.
“We’re just going to take it into our own hands,” he said.
“We’re getting hurt, bashed and killed.”
Rachel Barlow, whose sister lives at the Woodridge address involved in the incident, said 11 people at the house locked themselves in a back room and called police because "they were scared for their lives".
A Queensland Police spokeswoman said police were called to Douglas Street in the early hours of Sunday morning following a report of a disturbance involving several people.
She said the clash caused damage to a number of vehicles and a residence, with police called back later Sunday night after reports of another disturbance.
Police attended the scene just after 10 pm and found a large group of people allegedly involved in a fight.
“It’s still part of the investigations as to whether there were weapons involved and what they might have been,” the police spokeswoman said.
Resident's sister speaks
Ms Barlow said something had to be done.
"The racial tension between the Aboriginal and Tongan and Samoans has got to stop," she said.
“The situation at Woodridge at the moment is ridiculous.
“My family members can’t even go to the local shop without people starting on them ... they’re literally getting assaulted.”
Mr and Ms Barlow said they did not know what was provoking the violence.
Comment is being sought from the Ethnic Communities Council of Logan and the Logan City Council.
Nothing better to do?
Ethnic Communities Council of Logan president Paul Khieu said the violence didn’t indicate gang behaviour but the community was dealing with problems associated with bored youth.
Mr Khieu, a Logan resident for nearly 20 years, said the clashes which captured the attention of police and media were the result of “a few kids who haven’t got anywhere to go, or anything to do''.
“The state government and the local council needs to organise something for the kids,” he said.
“Most of the parents are trying to do the right thing, but these kids go out and sometimes they drink and when they get out of control that’s a problem.”
Mr Khieu said tensions between the various cultural groups could be traced back to the killing of Richard Saunders a few years ago.
This latest incident comes against a background of the death of Jackson Doolan at Loganlea in December.
- with Katherine Feeney and Tony Moore