More than 20 police officers were injured in south London overnight after attempts to break up a street party triggered violent clashes, which have been widely condemned.
Videos of the incident shared on social media showed police vehicles being smashed and officers chased during skirmishes with a large crowd near the Angell Town estate in Brixton.
The Metropolitan police said 22 officers were injured, including two who required hospital treatment. Some police vehicles were damaged.
Only in Brixton, you’ll see feds getting run out of the area pic.twitter.com/jioktgH7rc
— JOJO🎒#BLM (@jojo24s_) June 25, 2020
One clip showed bottles being thrown at officers as they were chased from the area, while in another a partygoer could be seen bleeding from the face.
Police were called to the scene on Wednesday night after reports of a “large unlicensed music event” in Overton Road. When police tried to encourage the crowd to leave, a group became hostile towards officers, the Met said.
The home secretary, Priti Patel, described the clashes as “utterly vile scenes” and said she would be speaking to the Met police commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, tweeted that “violence against the police will not be tolerated”. He added: “Large gatherings during #COVID19 are deeply irresponsible and risk others’ lives.”
Police car smashed up in Brixton last night, 15 police officers injured. Was this leading TV News this morning? pic.twitter.com/q3M1cwMMAX
— Michael Heaver (@Michael_Heaver) June 25, 2020
Four people are in custody after arrests were made for assault and public order offences.
Police 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. Last night we received numerous concerns from residents complaining about a large gathering, noise, antisocial behaviour and violence and officers responded to those concerns.
“These gatherings are unlawful, as well as posing a risk to public health and against coronavirus restrictions. The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form.”
Crazed man wields sword towards riot cops in Brixton last night
The area descends into total anarchy following an illegal street party
Why did this not dominate the news this morning?
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) June 25, 2020
He said an investigation was taking place.
The police said the party was finally cleared in the early hours of Thursday, while a section 60 order, which gives police powers to stop and search without reasonable suspicion, was later enforced in the area.
Patel tweeted: “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.”