Overnight, around 40 patrons were evacuated from the Perseverance Hotel in Fitzroy, Melbourne, after a noxious substance believed to be capsicum spray was released on the dancefloor.
Police were responding to reports of a minor assault at the Brunswick Street venue at around 1am, when people nearby began to complain of shortness of breath.
Up to a dozen of those evacuated were treated by paramedics, and one woman was hospitalised.
Police believe an unidentified woman might have released the spray after being hassled by a number of men on the dance floor. Senior Sergeant Steve Mills told media:
“Ultimately what we’ve determined is that a girl might have been approached and hassled a bit by a couple of blokes in the hotel and she’s used some sort of personal spray that she’s had. But we don’t know that for sure, neither the girl nor the two blokes who were apparently sprayed came forward.”
Mills noted that police now use capsicum foam rather than spray, because gases have the potential to spread and injure innocent bystanders, especially in “older buildings with recirculation for air conditioning.” He added:
“I’m assuming the girl who did it felt genuinely scared. It’s important to note that those sorts of things are illegal, although I sympathise with her for using it.”
Source: ABC News.