Wild brawl at Sydney Christmas event

 

Festivities to mark the lighting of the Martin Place Christmas tree took a turn for the worse on Saturday night when three men became involved in a brawl with police.

Thousands of people gathered for the event, which were disrupted when a man climbed onto the stage, disrupting performers.

Police officers removed him from the stage, but he resisted their attempts to arrest him, at which point his friends tried to intervene.

A violent brawl ensued, with onlookers stopping to watch and film the altercation.

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A second man became involved in the fight.
A second man became involved in the fight.

All three men involved were arrested, and charged with a string of offences.

Police were also told that the men had been ejected from a nearby store by security after creating a disturbance prior to the brawl, when one allegedly stole a traffic control light wand from an official.

The trio, aged 20, 21 and 23, were taken to Day Street Police Station and charged.

The Christmas tree lights at Martin Place. Picture: Monique Harmer
The Christmas tree lights at Martin Place. Picture: Monique Harmer

The 23-year-old man, from Wentworth Falls, was charged with assaulting police, larceny, and resisting police.

The 21-year-old man, also from Wentworth Falls, was charged with offensive behaviour and two counts of resisting police.

And the 20-year-old man, from Blackheath, was charged with assaulting police, offensive behaviour, and resisting or hindering police.

They have been granted strict conditional bail to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on January 15.

Crowds began to gather late yesterday afternoon for the tree lighting ceremony, with barely any wriggle room left at Martin Place.

"It's officially Christmas in the city," City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared on Twitter.

The Mayor joined Santa in his sleigh to ring in the festive cheer, barely able to navigate through the mass of people in attendance.

Sydney City Mayor Clover Moore arriving with Santa to light the Christmas tree at Martin Place. Picture: Monique Harmer
Sydney City Mayor Clover Moore arriving with Santa to light the Christmas tree at Martin Place. Picture: Monique Harmer

"Our Christmas celebrations continue to grow each year, with last year's inaugural Christmas in the City event alone attracting 22,000 people," the Mayor said in a statement.

The tree in Martin Place is the tallest in the state, and has been integral to Sydney's Christmas celebrations for almost 50 years.

Standing at 25 metres tall and dressed in 110,000 LED lights and 15,000 native flower decorations, the tree will be lit until 1am every night until January 1, with a sound and light show running every 30 minutes from 7:30pm to 10pm.

This year, close to $3 million has been spent on more than 30 days of festivities around the city centre and suburbs, including a Village Christmas Concert in Pyrmont and the inaugural Green Square Christmas Fair.