Barely a day after Britain eased out of the lockdown in the wake of massive Black Lives Matter protests for four consecutive weekends, a street party in London’s Brixton created a nationwide stir on Thursday. In a statement, police informed that they responded to “a large unlicensed music event in the street” in London’s Lambeth area.
As per the police’s version of events, when asked to leave, the crowd turned hostile and a dispersal unit had to be engaged under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 to clear the area.
London Police said that 22 officers were injured and a small number of police vehicles damaged during this action.
“The event was cleared in the early hours of Thursday, 25 June,” the statement added.
BCU Commander Colin Wingrove said, “Our role is to protect the public and ensure guidelines are adhered to in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 protecting the NHS and save lives. Our officers work incredibly hard to engage and explain the public health message and regulations to prevent such gatherings occurring.”
#Thread | “The scenes of violence against our officers in Brixton last night were disgraceful and those responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves.”
Chief Supt Wingrove confirms 22 officers were injured as they worked to restore order following the unlicensed music event pic.twitter.com/4ooDyDJwhf
— Lambeth Police (@LambethMPS) June 25, 2020
“These gatherings are unlawful, as well as posing a risk to public health and against coronavirus restrictions. We are engaged with the local community and our partners. Officers are out today conducting reassurance patrols. The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form,” Colin Wingrove told reporters.
Since the incident, heavy police presence has been in the vicinity of the event to prevent any further violence.
Colin Wingrove also said, “An investigation into the incident is now taking place and those involved will be brought to justice.”
Four people have been arrested so far in connection with assault and public order offences. They remain in police custody.
Describing the incident as “utterly vile scenes”, UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel said in a tweet, “Just last weekend, the whole country came together to praise our heroic police officers for putting their own lives on the line to keep us safe. I’ll be picking up with the Met Commissioner immediately.”
These are utterly vile scenes.
Just last weekend, the whole country came together to praise our heroic police officers for putting their own lives on the line to keep us safe.
I’ll be picking up with the Met Commissioner immediately. https://t.co/576qcLY89g
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) June 25, 2020
“I’m in touch with the met about the completely unacceptable events in Brixton overnight. Violence against the police will not be tolerated. Large gatherings during Covid-19 are deeply irresponsible,” Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said in a tweet.
Social media clips of the party show bottles being thrown at the police, individuals climbing on top of vehicles and smashing them while some are seen engaging in direct altercations. Partygoers too can be seen bleeding in some video clips.