Seven police officers were injured in London last night after breaking up an illegal music event.
- Read more: NME Investigates — the rise of illegal raves
Police were called to White City in West London yesterday evening (July 3) following reports that a large number of people gathered for an unlicensed music event.
A number of items were reportedly thrown at police when they attempted to approach the group, before they were forced to retreat, according to The Guardian.
Specially trained public disorder officers were later deployed to the scene before they too were met with further violence, with seven officers sustaining injuries.
In a statement, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “Officers have responded to residents complaining about a large gathering, noise, anti-social behaviour and violence. These gatherings are illegal and also pose a risk to public health.”
Taylor continued: “The violence shown towards officers this evening was totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form. Officers encountered bricks and other missiles being thrown at them.
“Our robust police response demonstrated that we will police incidents like these firmly and stop those intent on causing harm or disruption to our communities.”
According to the BBC, 6,000 people flocked to Daisy Nook Country Park and Carrington for what have been dubbed “quarantine raves.”
Police were called to both scenes and later confirmed that a 20-year-old man died of a suspected overdose at the the country park event while three separate stabbings and an attack on an 18-year-old woman took place in Carrington.
Condemning the raves as a clear breach of coronavirus legislation, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes said officers “were met with violence, resulting in items being thrown and a police car being vandalised.”
Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes later explained why the raves weren’t stopped, saying: “It’s not about what we allow, it’s about how we respond to things that take place.”
With the summer festival and live music season effectively wiped out by the coronavirus outbreak, there are fears many young people will turn to illegal mass gatherings throughout the summer.
Speaking to The Guardian, Night Time Industries Association chief executive Mike Kill said “the youth of today want to be out and want to be engaged”.
“There are a lot of people out there who are socially starved at the moment. And that’s why these illegal raves are starting to pop up because [people] have been trapped inside four walls for a long time now,” he said. “I don’t think there is anyone in our industry who couldn’t see this coming.”
Kill added: “Without very clear timelines there’s a lot of people looking at creating their own opportunities, socially, and putting on raves – almost like the 80s, in some respects.”