Spectators at Melbourne’s Darts Invitational Challenge, an international darts competition, initiated a riot that suspended the tournament for several hours, throwing chairs and jumping on tables until they broke. Regional government officials have called the incident “very ugly,” as the venue’s security officers were unable to stop the violence without police assistance.
According to UK’s The Telegraph, officials stopped the tournament as the crowd began throwing chairs, apparently intending to “build a pyramid out of the furniture.” The newspaper also reports that individuals were “body slamming each other” and deliberately breaking tables.
The riot was so large that it took forty police officers to subdue it, finally allowing play to resume.
Witnesses told The Telegraph that the event was “shocking,” with one witness telling The Age that the incident was “an absolute mess, drunken idiots that were getting bored and looking for a bit of excitement.”
Andrew Portsbury, a darts enthusiast, told Australia’s ABC News that he was profoundly disappointed. “I went to see some of the best darts players in the world do their thing and people just didn’t respect they were seeing a high level of skill on display,” he lamented.
Adding to the absurdity of the situation is the crowd’s varied wardrobe, which the BBC is describing as “fancy dress.” As the UK broadcaster notes, “Images show a man dressed as Batman’s sidekick Robin wrestling with an English knight, while security guards try to calm the situation down… Other pictures show men in Hawaiian shirts and also a gang of Oompa Loompas throwing furniture.”
The championship match pitted Simon Whitlock against Michael van Gerwen. The latter won, though The Telegraph notes he accepted his victory with “a look of ‘pure disgust.'”
Incredibly, no individuals were arrested, nor was anyone harmed during the strange incident. Nonetheless, authorities reacted sternly. The Telegraph reports that Daniel Andrews, the state premier in Victoria, called the incident “unacceptable” and “very ugly,” and vowed to discuss security measures with venue officials and event organizers to ensure no such similar incidents occur in the future.
See video footage of the incident below, apparently taken by someone in the crowd: