Met police fail to criminalise Londoners right to party

Tony Gosling tony at
Sun Oct 31 15:35:53 GMT 2010

Police injured during violent clashes at illegal rave in London

Seven Halloween revellers arrested after confronting police who tried 
to break up suspected illegal rave at disused building

Haroon Siddique and agencies, Sunday 31 October 2010 10.49 GMT

The scene in Museum Street, central London, where riot police 
surrounded a suspected illegal rave. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

Hundreds of revellers went ahead with a illegal rave in central 
London today despite clashes with police officers who tried to break 
up the gathering.

Several police officers were hurt after bottles and bricks were 
thrown during the disturbance in High Holborn, the Metropolitan 
police said. One needed hospital treatment for a minor head injury 
but was later discharged. At least seven people were arrested for 
suspected public order offences.

Police were first called to the event in a disused building at 
11.20pm last night. They said some people became aggressive after 
being asked to leave the area and commanders then called in dozens of 
riot squad officers from the Met's territorial support group (TSG).

A number of buildings and vehicles were damaged during the affray but 
most of the revellers went back into the eight-storey building where 
the event was taking place after the clashes. "Most of the people are 
still there," said a Met spokesman. "They have gone back inside the 
building, and are going ahead with the rave. Officers at the scene 
have a watching brief."

As the rave continued into the morning with deafening music blaring 
out, the atmosphere inside was said to be friendly. Hundreds of 
revellers spilled out onto New Oxford Street, many dressed in 
Halloween costumes. There were ravers in boiler suits, bear suits, 
and jester costumes, and an array of hoodies, top hats, fluorescent 
caps and dreadlocks.

Some were drinking beer in the road, many were clinging to water 
bottles. As people left, some shook hands with officers or asked the 
best way to get home.

Flavia Pickler, 28, a nanny, from Brighton, and her friend Samanta 
Coletti, 27, a waitress from west London, tried to have their picture 
taken with some officers. Pickler, dressed as a toffee apple with her 
face paint fading away, said: "It's very friendly, you can trust 
people." David Ameri, 24, a squatter in Hounslow, said: "We're 
rebelling but we're not harming anyone, we don't cause damage."

Up on the roof one raver lowered himself over the ledge, obscuring 
graffiti which read "Fuck the police." But he soon pulled himself back up.

As well as a police officer, two other people received hospital 
treatment. A woman in her 30s who police said was caught up in the 
disorder was also taken to hospital with a cut face, while a man in 
his 20s needed treatment for intoxication.

Police maintained their presence around the building, which is 
bordered by High Holborn, Museum Road and New Oxford Street, as the 
rave continued. About a dozen officers were stationed in sight on the 
nearby corners. Road closures are also in place around the site. It 
is not known when the event is due to end. One officer said: "We're 
hoping people will get tired and go home."
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