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Why this Australian town has imposed youth curfew

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NEW DELHI: Alice Springs, often referred to as the Outback capital of Australia, has instituted a two-week curfew for individuals under 18 years old. This drastic measure comes as the community confronts escalating violence and disorder, notably following the recent death of a teenager in a car crash, which has exacerbated tensions.
The situation took a turn for the worse following the death of a teenager two weeks ago, leading to subsequent unrest and violence, particularly after his funeral on Tuesday.
Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy detailed an incident where young attendees of the funeral attacked a local pub, Todd Tavern, with rocks and bricks, instigated by family disputes. This violence involved up to 150 individuals across various incidents, including a significant brawl and attacks on Tuesday.
In response to the surge in violence, the Northern Territory government has implemented a curfew restricting the movement of minors in the city center from 6pm to 6am. Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said violators would be escorted home or to a designated safe place. Additionally, 58 extra police officers will be deployed to Alice Springs to ensure the curfew’s enforcement.
Lawler expressed her frustration with the ongoing crime and antisocial behavior, emphasizing the community’s collective exhaustion and determination to restore peace and safety. “The scenes yesterday in Alice Springs were horrific, unacceptable, and we never want to see anything like that again in the Northern Territory,” Lawler remarked.
Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson echoed the sentiment, noting the worsening violence and unrest over the years. The introduction of the curfew represents a new strategy to combat the escalating violence, with hopes of returning to normalcy.
The curfew’s imposition highlights the deep-rooted social divisions and challenges faced by Alice Springs, a key tourist destination and a gateway to iconic sites like Uluru. It also reflects broader issues of marginalization and disadvantage among Indigenous Australians, a significant proportion of Alice Springs’ population.
(With inputs from agencies)

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