Partygoers were pepper sprayed and officers had bottles thrown at them as about 40 police raced to Austinmer to bust up a bush party by force late on Friday night, witnesses said. More than a dozen police cars, lights and sirens on, raced to the sleepy northern suburb about 10.30pm after earlier attempts to break up the party, in bush off Mountain Rd, didn't succeed. An estimated 200 people were at the "bush doof" party, which had been going for hours until complaints from nearby residents called in the police. Read more: Woman led thugs to rob pokie winner after sex and drugs romp Some partygoers ran off into the bush pursued by police, others headed for the shadows, but most of the noisy throng streamed down Mountain Rd from the off-road party location, pushed along by a line of police and still in high spirits. Several had been pepper sprayed and some were crying out for water to wash their eyes. One teenaged reveller said he had been dragged by his hair. "I've been pepper sprayed and abused by the police," he said. "They pulled me by my mullet (haircut)." A police dog and handler was on the scene as well as some plain clothes officers. A young man approached the Mercury and took credit for organising the event, along with his "lads" from Thirroul, Bulli and Woonona. "Remember, the Coal Coast Troopers did this," he said. Another man lamented the state of things these days. "They said you aren't allowed to party," he said. "In this day and age, why aren't we allowed to party like we used to? "They started getting everyone out of there, 'yous are breaking the law', this and that. All the young boys and girls are just trying to have a bit of fun together." The Mercury's reporter was shoved by some police despite clearly identifying himself as media, while filming the goings-on. The crowd re-formed near a park at the corner of Mountain and Kirton roads but police formed a cordon and swept down Kirton Rd clearing anyone in their path. Wollongong Police acting Inspector Jayson Joerdens said the use of pepper spray was appropriate when people became violent. "There were a number of confrontations, from throwing beer bottles and attacking the police," Insp Joerdens said. "A number of kids were [pepper] sprayed. When a violent confrontation happens then we've got to make sure we respond to it accordingly." Insp Joerdens said the huge deployment of resources was appropriate because officers had been attacked with bottles thrown at them earlier. "There was a large amount of kids drinking up in the bush there at the top of Mountain Rd," he said. "Police arrived and they threw some empty bottles at police, so we've asked for more crews. We got a big response." The partygoers dispersed across the suburb, mostly to train stations. Some had come from other suburbs - one group said Fairy Meadow, another Helensburgh - while many were Austinmer/Thirroul locals. Most appeared to be aged between 16 and 24. A bush doof is an outdoor dance party held without regard for getting permission, with location details often spread via social media in the hours before the music starts. The name comes from the "doof-doof-doof" beat of the electronic dance music. This party had been going for several hours before it was broken up. Insp Joerdens said the trouble started after complaints about noise and bottles being smashed. "That was the main problem I believe - all the bottles that were being smashed around the place instead of [people just] enjoying themselves."