Over the weekend, the London Police and ravers got into a bit of a battle regarding an illegal event. Last week we reported how a London rave was allowed to continue after police showed up and realized it would be best to let the crowd disperse as the night went on rather than forcefully break up the party. It was a different scenario this past weekend as police showed up in full riot gear to uphold the law.
This recent incident was not handled peacefully and it seems like both sides are at fault here. It's being reported that the crowd was throwing chairs and other projectiles, including a dangerous petrol bomb. The event, which was called "Scumoween", took place in central London and was finally broken up around 6am, but not before four officers were injured and another man was treated by the London Ambulence Service.
Fires erupted on the streets as unruly ravers protested to continue their event. Although it may seem like the crowd is to blame, Bradley Garret, a columnist for The Guardian who was there doing research, said the police did not handle the situation properly and quickly turned to violence.
“When I got there, a friend told me about 500 people got into the event then the police started closing the street,” he said. “They turned up in full riot gear and created a huge bottleneck. There must have been 1,000 people trying to get in. The police turned aggressive very fast. People were trying to rationalise with them, saying it’s better to let people in, otherwise this is going to create a mess in the neighbourhood.”
In a Facebook post by the event organizers, Scum Tek, they warned of police involvement and urged those planning to attend to not engage with the police. “This party is going ahead, stay peaceful, stay calm. Patience and numbers is in our favour. Do not antagonise the police. We don’t need to. At the end of the day we want to leave them remembering our good attitudes, we just came to dance, we are not their enemy.”
As you can see in the above video the police were using batons against those who were involved in the riot. It is being reported that it took nearly 6 hours to disperse the crowd. Garrett stated that he believes that what sparked the violence was when a woman was struck on the head by a police baton.
Raves are not supposed to be violent places and it seems that the police could have handled the situation in a more efficient manner that did not involve a massive riot. We'll have more information on this incident at is arises.
[via The Guardian]