WESTERN Sydney Wanderers fans have launched a campaign to resume pre-match marches down Parramatta’s main street after violence saw them diverted to another route.
A group of the football team’s fans are rallying support on social media to bring back the march down Church Street to Parramatta Stadium during the Wanderers’ second season in the A-League competition.
The march was diverted from the busy dining and shopping street to Marsden Street and Victoria Road after incidents occurred during a pre-match march in March.
Video footage from the march showed fans banging on the windows and throwing projectiles into the outdoor area of the Ribs and Rumps Restaurant and of groups of Wanderers fans abusing and attacking Sydney FC fans.
A spokesman for the Bring Back WSW Church St March Facebook page said the march was an important part of each match and should be celebrated in the heart of Parramatta.
‘‘It provides a festive, carnival atmosphere and involves people of all ages and backgrounds,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘It is something unique to western Sydney. The benefits are far too great to be overridden by the negative actions of a small minority.’’
Parramatta Chamber of Commerce acting president Roger Byrne said he hadn’t received any complaints from businesses about the marches in the past.
‘‘We think it’s very beneficial to the businesses of Parramatta and to have the march pass through Church Street can only raise awareness of what’s happening in shopping and dining in that area but it needs to be policed and maintained properly,’’ Mr Bryne said.
Parramatta police acting commander Superintendent Karen Webb said police would consider several factors including the number of people participating in the march and whether it would occur during peak time, if fans sought permission to march down Church Street before the Wanderer’s first home game on October 20.
‘‘They exhibited very poor behaviour along the restaurant strip that interfered with the diners. Our emphasis is on public safety and the march was diverted down to another route to Parramatta Stadium that didn’t interfere with the public going about their business,’’ she said.
‘‘The alternate route was developed also because of the increasing numbers of people taking part in the march and Church Street is narrower in some parts. Lot’s of things are taken into consideration for the fans’ safety and the safety of the public.’’
Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid said he was very supportive of the Wanderers and their fans.
‘‘I support whichever route will best secure the public’s safety, whilst ensuring the Wanderers and their fans enjoy their time in Parramatta.’’