In Australia 4,000 people once rioted because a pub closed Twenty-five years after the infamous Newcastle riot, many are still wondering who was to blame, writes John Huxley.The trouble started just after 10pm when, to scattered cries of “kill the pigs”, an angry, alcohol-fuelled crowd started pouring out of the pub and on to the street to confront a painfully thin blue line of police officers.Within minutes, missiles were – in the words of one witness – “raining down like rice at a wedding”. Rocks, bottles and beer cans. Watched by several hundred spectators gathered in the middle of the road, the mob rushed police lines and overturned paddy wagons. It was only after two hours of violent mayhem that the crowd was dispersed by fire-brigade hoses. By then, the street had been transformed, says a witness, into a “a sea of rubbish”.Fourteen officers and eight civilians were on the way to hospital with injuries. Eventually, 46 people were charged with 79 offences, ranging from assault occasioning actual bodily harm to resisting arrest and riotous assembly.To this day, it is remembered as Newcastle’s “night of infamy”: a Wednesday night, almost exactly 25 years ago, which started much like any other but ended in violent confrontation as about 40 police battled more than 4000 rioters angered by the closure of the Star Hotel in the city’s West End.