Undie 500 chaos - a student's view

Irony - the fires were in front of a flat that sported the logo of Beehive matches. All photos by...
Irony - the fires were in front of a flat that sported the logo of Beehive matches. All photos by Emily Menkes.
The crowd mills about on Castle St before the fires started.
The crowd mills about on Castle St before the fires started.
Students I spoke to commended the actions of the police.
Students I spoke to commended the actions of the police.
The colourful cars were in evidence.
The colourful cars were in evidence.
Students had their own ways of changing things slightly –  this group held a sausage sizzle on...
Students had their own ways of changing things slightly – this group held a sausage sizzle on the corner of Dundas and Castle St.
Castle St burns - again.
Castle St burns - again.

First year student and ODT Online reporter Emily Menkes was in the thick of another unfortunate night on Castle St.

The attempts to rehabilitate the Undie 500 failed.

As with previous years, Castle Street once again experienced chaos, which eventually resulted in the street being cordoned off just after midnight, after the presence of the fire brigade and the riot police.

Earlier in the night, there was reason to believe that this year's Undie 500 would be more of a half-hearted attempt as a result of the new regulations imposed on the event. Very few cars were even in Dunedin by 10pm and even fewer were making themselves known to the locals.

Less than an hour later, Castle Street was covered with rebellious students, many of whom were making every attempt to defy the police.

The student peer pressure became apparent after a sudden surge towards the middle section of the street, with a pile of rubbish placed at the centre. A chant started, urging someone to step up and set it on fire. Several minutes passed before a student took initiative.

Three more fires followed the first in short succession, each to the apparent delight for much of the crowd. A few attempted to strengthen the fire by throwing objects ranging from boxes and plastic bags to glass bottles.

No one seemed to notice the irony of the fires' location - nearly all of them were in front of a flat that sported the logo of Beehive matches.

The emergency services soon took matters into their own hands, with the fire brigade putting out the flames, ambulance staff tending those who had been hit with glass bottles or fallen on shards.

The police eventually managed to break up the crowds around the fires, with some leaving more reluctantly than others.

One girl was seen calling her mother and lamenting, "I might be getting kicked out of university."

With the police's effective strategy of containing the area, meaning no-one could come in but everyone could come out, the party eventually dwindled, leaving behind a street of disgrace.

 

 

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