Police have today slammed a Melbourne events company for having "a reckless lack of social awareness" after a publicity stunt for an upcoming Halloween event caused chaos in an inner-city apartment building and the closure of an entire city block. Officers responded to alerts from the public when placards were noticed erected to a Flinders Street high-rise, suggesting residents inside were signalling for help. A response team arrived to the Flinders Street high rise to find cards affixed to the building, reading Help, SOS!, Not Infected and Alive Inside.
The building was taken under control, quarantining residents within while police investigated the situation. For three hours, the building and surrounding area was placed into lockdown. It is not known if health authorities were called.
The quarantine ended when it became apparent the signage was part of a guerrilla advertising campaign for Immersion Entertainment, promoting their upcoming zombie-themed Halloween event. Senior Sergeant Christopher Loxley said that while police response was a "waste of resources", it was not an overreaction.
"Victoria Police takes community safety seriously," Snr Sgt Loxley said. "Given recent events in Australia and elsewhere, it is our duty to respond to any threat to the health of the community."
Sgt Loxley would not respond to questioning on whether there was concern of Ebola or other outbreak, only that the promoters acted "recklessly". Promoters insist the only scaring they intend to do is at their October 25, secret warehouse event. In a statement, a spokesperson for promoter said, "Immersion Entertainment regrets the involvement of the police and other officials. The signage was marked clearly with links to melbournehalloween.com and we did not envision the disruption it would cause."
it is not known if any charges have been laid.