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Fireworks in Melbourne

IT'S been a weekend of drama in Melbourne, Australia, where work continues in the city's Albert Park on the site which is destined to host the 1996 Australian Grand Prix. On Sunday 400 protesters invaded the area where work is taking place, tearing down wire fences and clashing with police. Over 100 were arrested after scuffles.

On the same day the Melbourne Herald Sun published an opinion poll which suggested that almost 80% of the population of the city want the race to go ahead, figures which prompted state premier Pat McNamara to attack the Save Albert Park protesters, whom he described as "a destructive minority group" indulging in "disgraceful publicity stunts."

The Save Albert Park group refuses to give in and has promised to continue its disruptions and is threatening to protest at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has repeatedly told the Australians that he will take the Grand Prix to another Australian city or to Asia if life is made difficult by the Melbourne protesters. This, however, would be victory for Save Albert Park, and Bernie is not known to like to give way if there is good money to be made. Melbourne won the Grand Prix from Adelaide because the city was willing to pay more.

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