Tamils, Sinhalese clash in Westmead
- Dylan Welch
- May 18, 2009
A LARGE brawl broke out in Sydney's west last night between Tamils protesting against the war in Sri Lanka and supporters of the Government's offensive.
Several people were arrested after a punch was thrown at a police officer during the brawl involving more than 50 people, and a man was bashed by four others after he took a small Tamil flag from a car and snapped its pole in half, police said.
He was taken to Westmead Hospital with bruises and a cut to his right eye.
The violence occurred after a convoy of about 120 cars of young Tamils drove through Sydney's CBD waving Tamil flags yesterday afternoon.
When the group returned to a Hindu temple in Westmead - where a Tamil has been on a hunger strike for the past two weeks - reports began to filter in of Tamils being attacked at Westmead railway station, the protest organiser, who wished to be known as "Vish", said.
Vish and some friends went to the station and were set upon, he said. "We got out of the car, went around the corner and then there were three Sinhalese [the Buddhist ethnic majority in Sri Lanka] guys with three crowbars who came running at us."
He managed to escape from the three men and call police. He then heard a large brawl had erupted at a nearby car park.
When he arrived he found more than 50 Tamils and Sinhalese in a brawl involving weapons. "It was about to get worse … but then the police came," he said.
A Tamil protester, already on crutches, was hit with a crowbar across the arm, Vish said.
A senior member of the Sri Lankan Tamil community, Ana Pararajasingham, said he was surprised the protests, until now peaceful, had turned violent.