Overrun by African criminal gangs, its streets filled with violence, terror and menace – that’s how some local media and politicians are depicting the Australian city of Melbourne.
For more than two years, there have been reports that Melbourne is in the grip of a crime wave, with the finger of blame pointed directly at African street gangs.
“We need to call it for what it is. Of course, this is African gang violence … people are scared to go out to restaurants of a night-time because they’re followed home by these gangs,” said Peter Dutton, Federal Home Affairs Minister.
Images of brawling Sudanese teens and hooded armed robbers have spread terror and stoked a growing anger towards those “of African appearance”.
“They do all these criminal acts and you see on the news that they get away with it. Why do they get away with it?” says one resident.
It’s generating heated debate and social tensions – police are being accused of political correctness and inaction while the Sudanese community feels under siege.
“You get stared at. Imagine someone’s looking through you or looking … someone’s eyes are just burning into the side of your head. That’s what it feels like,” says a young Sudanese man.
But how accurate is the so-called “threat”?
101 East investigates the claims and counterclaims to unearth the truth behind the headlines of Australia’s African crime wave.