Met police fail to criminalise Londoners right to party
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
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
guardian.co.uk, 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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