Indian and Somalian drivers brawl at Melbourne Airport lands cabbie in hospital

June 5th, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, June 5 (ANI): A brawl between Indian and Somalian origin taxi drivers at Melbourne Airport landed a 25-year-old man in hospital late on Wednesday night.

The man admitted to the hospital received injuries to his head.

A Metropolitan Ambulance spokesman also said that the man had suffered a swelling and a gash above his eye after being hit with a heavy blunt object at the Tullamarine cafe.

Paramedics treated the man at the scene and transported him to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, but his condition was described as not serious.

Taxi drivers turned on each other last night outside the cafe in what appears to have been a racially charged brawl.

According to witnesses, up to 30 drivers, some of them brandishing weapons, spilled onto Melrose Drive from the Melrose Lounge.

It was initially suggested that the fight was between Sudanese and Indian drivers. However, other witnesses claim the fight began between a Somalian driver and an Indian driver, before mushrooming into a brawl between Indians and drivers from various African nations.

One driver, a leader in the recent taxi driver protests in Melbourne’s CBD, told 3AW Radio that the disturbance was sparked off when an Indian driver attempted to skip the queue.

Other taxi drivers and airport staff who contacted 3AW this morning claimed that racial tensions were consistently evident at the airport rank, with queue-skipping enough to spark mass arguments and violent incidents.

Nabjot Gall, a taxi driver, said the fight broke out just before 8 p.m.

I don’t know why it happened, it just happened. There was blood, the Herald Sun quoted Gall, as saying.

He said drivers used carjacks as weapons and one man was smashed across the face.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said four officers helped break up an argument between two males’ and dispersed a group of around 20 bystanders. (ANI)

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