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Feared bikie gang takes over Aussie city

Hundreds of members of an outlaw bikie gang have descended on Ballarat.
Hundreds of members of an outlaw bikie gang have descended on Ballarat.

Hundreds of members of an outlaw bikie gang have descended on a regional city in Victoria's Central Highlands for their national run.

Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang members from around Australia gathered on Friday in Ballarat, 110km from Melbourne, for the event.

The members, wearing Bandidos patches, are expected to travel to nearby Buninyong, 11km from Ballarat, before returning over the weekend.

BANDIDOS BIKIE RUN
Bandidos bikies from around Australia have arrived in Ballarat their national run. Picture: NCA NewsWire

In a statement, Victoria Police said on Thursday that officers were “aware” OMCG members were taking part in the run, which ends on Sunday.

“Echo and VIPER taskforces, with local police and specialist units, will be closely monitoring to ensure the safety of all road users,” they said.

“There will be an increased police presence in the Ballarat area over the weekend before members are expected to depart on Sunday.

BANDIDOS BIKIE RUN
Police say they will not be intimidated by the bikies’ presence. Picture: NCA NewsWire

“Police will be ready to take swift action in the event any OMCG members involved commit criminal, road safety or public order offences.”

Western Region Superintendent Frank Sells told the Herald Sun that police would “not be intimidated” and their presence would be increased.

Ballarat has hosted the Bandidos several times before, with the annual general meeting held last year at popular local restaurant Lazy Moe’s.

BANDIDOS BIKIE RUN
The bikies drew onlookers as the group passed through the regional hub. Picture: NCA NewsWire

The club even posted a classified in Ballarat’s newspaper after the event, thanking the people of Ballarat for their “warm hospitality”.

The Bandidos are one of Victoria’s “big-six” OMCGs that include the well-known Hells Angels and the Black Uhlans.

The Australian chapter of the Bandidos was founded in 1983 by former members of the Comanchero OMCG and based on the US gang with the same name.

BANDIDOS BIKIE RUN
The group then gathered at Buninyong cemetery on Friday afternoon Picture: NCA NewsWire

The club’s website claims the founding members were “greatly impressed by the brotherhood and hospitality” of the US Bandidos.

That Bandidos were formed in 1966 in Texas with many Vietnam War veterans taking part. The first international chapter was in Sydney.