Melbourne Cricket Ground to ban parking over security fears

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's largest stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, will ban parking during major events to prevent vehicle attacks on pedestrians that have rocked major cities around the world.

The 100,000-capacity venue banned parking during the opening days of the Boxing Day test between Australia and England's cricket teams in December and will have similar restrictions for marquee events throughout the year, the Melbourne Cricket Club said on Tuesday.

"Ongoing events both around the world and closer to home clearly demonstrate that we need to minimise the risk of interactions between vehicles and pedestrians, especially in crowded places such as outside the MCG," MCC CEO Stuart Fox said in a statement.

Bans will be implemented for the Australian Football League season-opener between champions Richmond and Carlton next week and other blockbuster sporting events in coming months.

For most other events, organisers would set an 80-metre "exclusion zone" between vehicles and the stadium which would reduce parking to two-thirds of its normal capacity.

Islamist militants have used vehicles to attack people several times in Europe and the United States over the past couple of years.

Australia's second largest city suffered two vehicle attacks last year but police said they were not terror-related.

An SUV drove into a crowd of pedestrians in central Melbourne in December, injuring more than 20 people. An 83-year-old man died of his injuries from the rampage.

In Jan. 2017, six people were killed in Melbourne's central business district when a man used his vehicle to mow them down.

Following the January incident, authorities installed 140 concrete bollards in the city centre.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)