Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Riot police clash with rave crowd

Revellers inside the suspected illegal rave in Museum Street, central London
Revellers inside the suspected illegal rave in Museum Street, central London
The scene in Museum Street, central London, where riot police have surrounded a suspected illegal raid

A rave in the heart of central London continued throughout the day after hundreds of revellers took over a disused eight-storey building.

Police arrested eight people after a stand-off with riot police on Saturday night, when bricks and bottles were thrown and a number of buildings and vehicles were damaged.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the rave ended at about 4.15pm when the owners and security staff working for the owners went into the building. All cordons were lifted and there were no further arrests.

Some party-goers had claimed the police, who at first attempted to stop them accessing the building, were overly aggressive. But on Sunday morning officers were taking a low-profile approach, standing back and allowing the event to continue.

Organisers said in the face of the economic crisis, unemployment and homelessness, raves like this, which were common in the late 1980s, were likely to see a resurgence. Scumoeen: The Squat Monster's Ball was organised by word of mouth and on Facebook, with the location disclosed via a secret telephone number on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning the party was still going strong, with hundreds of revellers spilling out onto New Oxford Street between High Holborn and Museum Road and deafening techno music pumping out into the surrounding streets.

About a dozen officers stood watch on nearby corners, while the crowd, aged between about 18 and 35, emerged into the sunlight. Sunday morning tourists stood and stared in amazement at the scene, with ravers in boiler suits, bear suits, and jester costumes, and an array of hoodies, top hats, fluorescent caps and dreadlocks, spread across the road.

Several police officers were hurt on Saturday night after bottles were thrown during clashes with a crowd of up to 500 people.

The officers called for backup after being "rushed" by the crowd with dozens of riot squad officers from the force's Territorial Support Group arriving on the scene. Bricks and bottles were thrown and at one point the crowd charged police with a wheelie bin.

The injuries to police officers were described as "minor stuff" with one suffering non-serious cuts to the head. A woman in her 30s suffered a cut face, while a man in his 20s needed treatment for intoxication.

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