London

Rave crowd clashes with riot police in Lambeth

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPolice said that officers were attacked when they arrived to close a Halloween event in Lambeth, south London

Crowds throwing bottles, chairs and a suspected petrol bomb clashed with riot police at an illegal rave in south London.

The Met Police said officers were attacked when they arrived to close the event, in a disused building in Lambeth, late on Saturday.

Fourteen officers were injured and eight people arrested, the force said.

In a social media message, organisers of the event accused police of "bashing people senseless".

'Mayhem'

Police said the unlicensed music event was shut down shortly before 07:00 GMT.

They described being attacked with missiles by the group and said criminal damage was caused to cars and private property.

They said a member of the public, a man, was also treated by London Ambulance Service.

Commander Mak Chishty said: "Last night police faced hostility and attack; this is completely unacceptable. "

Image copyright PA/Sam Lister
Image caption Those confronting the police lit fires in the surrounding streets
Image copyright PA/Sam Lister
Image caption Dozens of police vehicles converged on the area
Image caption Police say they have now shut down the event

Southwark Police tweeted a picture of broken chairs and other debris writing: "Tired and bruised having had all of this, and more, thrown at us. Yes, that includes the propane tanks."

The injuries sustained by police were described as "minor" and they were treated at the scene.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAmateur footage shows the scene of the unrest in Lambeth

At the scene

BBC reporter John Sweeney was woken in the early hours of the morning by the sound of the crowds outside his north Lambeth home. The footage above was filmed from his window.

"It was like a dark ballet, choreographed by Edvard Munch - many of the people were wearing Halloween and Day of the Dead costumes," he said.

"It was mad - and it was maddening. I've just been going around with Syrian refugees to find a little boy and I never felt under threat. But here I was in my own house, scared because outside someone was sat on the roof of my car."

He said most of those involved appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s and did not seem to be local.

"It was about 3am and the police were outnumbered. There was a kind of rain of bricks, poles and spiky bits of wood being thrown at them. The police were going forward, and being beaten back.

"There was a fire in the street, being fuelled by wood from our neighbour's fence.

"These people, for no reason, were deliberately seeking to hurt people who happened to be wearing a uniform, defending other people's property. This was collective madness and collective badness."

He said he had another reason to be concerned about his car - the ashes of his father were in the boot.

"If it had been on fire, I wouldn't have minded losing the car - but I didn't want my dad's ashes being disrespected."


Image caption The disturbance lasted throughout the night, but police said the violence had ended on Sunday morning
Image caption Cars and property were damaged in the clash, police said
Image caption One witness described the scene as 'mayhem'

Crowds first gathered on Black Prince Road at Albert Embankment, across the river from Westminster, before dispersing down Lambeth Road on to Lambeth High Street and nearby Whitgift Street.

They reportedly charged at police, set fire to bins and chanted "scum" and "pigs".

One witness described the scene as "mayhem".

A resident told BBC Radio London: "There was a lot of smashing going on, a lot of banging. It was difficult getting home."

Others took to social media to vent their frustration at the disturbance.

Rhodri tweeted: "They're now gathering on my street. There are families here with young kids that don't deserve this disruption. #Lambeth."

The event - called Scumoween: A Nightmare On Scum Street - had been advertised on Facebook to take place in Whitgift Street, starting at 20:00 on Saturday and lasting until 06:00 on Monday.

Of 13,000 invited guests on the social networking site, about 4,000 said they planned to attend.

On Wednesday, organisers had advised: "Stay peaceful, stay calm. Patience and numbers is in our favour. Do not antagonise the police. We don't need to.

"At the end of the day we want to leave them remembering our good attitudes, we just came to dance, we are not their enemy."

However an updated message on the event's Facebook page, posted after the disturbance, accused police of "bashing people senseless" and "letting their dogs go at people almost unrestrained".

"The police were not interested to talk through peaceful resolutions," the message added.

Anyone with any information about the disorder is urged to contact police by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites