London: 53 are held for smoking cannabis at 'high park'
London's historic Hyde Park became high park yesterday as more than 50 people were arrested when a pro-cannabis festival was held at the venue.
The 53 arrests were all for drug-related offences. Uniformed officers stepped in as campaigners settled in to the '420 Day Celebration' at Speaker's Corner.
They gathered to hear speeches supporting decriminalisation and to smoke the Class B drug.
Thousands of supporters were greeted by police warning signs stating that 'Cannabis Is Illegal' and that smokers risked landing themselves in trouble, while others handed out cannabis leaf-shaped fliers which declared 'End Cannabis Prohibition'.
Scotland Yard said 37 people were dealt with at Hyde Park police station, 10 were given a cannabis warning, six were handed a penalty notice, 21 got police bail and 16 were taken in to custody.
Organiser Stewart Harper, of Norml-UK, said the event, one of 420 being held around the world, had been arranged because "we need legal access for cannabis and medical access to cannabis especially".