Police injured as violence erupts outside concert: Streets sealed off after shops looted

SIX POLICE officers were injured last night when a 700-strong crowd that had gathered outside a London concert venue went on the rampage.

Members of the crowd, which had gathered outside Le Palais in Hammersmith, attacked two police cars, smashed windows and looted nearby shops as local officers were reinforced by police in full riot gear, an armed response vehicle and dog units.

Seven men and one youth arrested for alleged theft and public order offences were taken to Hammersmith police station. Scotland Yard reported injuries to six officers, who were pelted with glasses and bottles. Most were thought to have suffered head injuries. Several members of the crowd were also hurt. No shots were fired by police.

At 9.30pm a police traffic car travelling along Hammersmith Broadway was surrounded by an angry mob and attacked. Two officers in the vehicle fled. At about the same time another police car was hit by a missile in Brook Green, Shepherd's Bush. Both occupants escaped unhurt.

Police had been called to Le Palais at 7.50pm after reports that a crowd outside was spilling from the pavement into the road.

Some people were apparently trying to get into an all-ticket event which featured an act called 'Onyx', billed in Time Out, the London listings magazine, as 'the meanest looking rappers you are likely to encounter south of Watford' who 'give new meaning to the phrase 'angry young men' '. The concert went ahead despite the disturbances, according to a member of Le Palais's staff.

A spokesman for Le Palais said last night: 'Crowds were queuing to see the group Onyx. The violence did not start as a result of shortage of tickets.'

The mob refused police requests to disperse and headed towards the King Street shopping parade. The window of the Currys electrical store was smashed, and goods were in disarray inside. Ryman the stationer, which stocks computers, was also vandalised.

Several pubs in the area barred their doors when the trouble started. Jim Wilkes, landlord of the Hope and Anchor, said he shut when the trouble started but some customers were too frightened to leave.

'I am frightened - I don't know what's going to happen,' he said. 'They have run right down King Street and done all the windows.'

By 11.30 last night police said that the area had 'calmed down'.

Le Palais was the scene of violence four months ago when a man was shot during a concert there. He was shot in the back and leg on the dance floor at the ragga show Champions in Action.

Police had been called earlier when about 2,000 people standing outside the venue without tickets refused to leave.

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