It’s often been said that we should never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups, and if this weekends riot at a Bob Jane T-mart franchise is anything to go by, the old adage still rings true.
A group of protesters angry at the cancellation of this year’s EasterNats race meet were protesting outside the store in Oakleigh, Victoria, when after a two hour standoff with police, grounds swelled to around 2000 people.
The store, a privately owned franchise, was unfairly targeted when a portion of the group began smashing windows and stealing stock from the business. Several cars were overturned with the police airwing and dog squad called to attend the scene.
Franchise owner Neville Smith was called to the scene shortly after 1am yesterday and saw the riot unfold.
“They’ve just smashed everything to pieces,” said Mr Smith.
“They’ve pushed over all our displays and they’ve turned over a car and smashed the windows,
“They were using baseball bats and steel poles, just anything they could get their hands on.”
Mr Smith said the protesters caused about $15,000 in damage.
“People are saying it’s un-Australian. It’s not normal to do something like this,” he said.
“It seems strange to me that you would punish me, I’m just a franchise holder.”
EasterNats promoter, Mr Jon Davison, said Bob Jane had cancelled the event “as a result of our inability to finalise a satisfactory contract”.
“There were a lot of people very annoyed about the event not proceeding, but I don’t know who is behind this,” said Mr Davison.
“I am in no way supportive of any illegal activity. I am staggered this has happened.”