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Priti Patel condemns ‘awful’ lockdown parties as London police break up raves for fourth night

‘It is simply unacceptable,’ home secretary says

Vincent Wood
Sunday 28 June 2020 19:04 BST
Crowds gather for unlicensed music event in Clapham Common

The home secretary has condemned people gathering in “awful ways” after a fourth evening of illegal raves in London led to arrests and dispersal orders being issued by the Metropolitan Police.

Friday saw the force arrest seven people - including two in the east London borough of Newham who were found to be carrying a firearm and a “rambo-style” knife respectively, according to a spokesperson.

Others in the west of the capital were taken in by officers on suspicion of assaulting and racially abusing members of the police, as well as contributing to violent disorder - while Saturday saw police powers deployed to break up two events in south London

And a clash between police and event attendees in Brixton on Wednesday which led to the injuring of 27 officers has since led to a woman, 24, being charged with assaulting emergency service workers and two others - a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy - facing a charge of violent disorder.

Now Priti Patel has appealed for the public not to take part in gatherings that breach coronavirus regulations, while warning those who abuse officers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Two Met officers were hurt over the weekend.

Commenting on the disorder - as well as protests across the UK and celebrations by Liverpool FC fans who gathered at Anfield to mark their Premier League success - Ms Patel told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday :"What we've seen with mass gatherings and protests is unacceptable.

"The violence we've seen against our officers is also unacceptable.

"My message is the same - I would urge people not to participate in gatherings of that nature or protests, but I would also add if people do assault police officers, they will feel the full force of the law.

"It is simply unacceptable to have people gathering in these awful ways that we have been seeing."

Her comments came after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick vowed to shut down events that flouted health regulations.

She said it had been a "very difficult few weeks" of lockdown easing in the city, with officers coming under attack as they tried to break up crowds.

Writing in The Sun newspaper, she said the force had a duty to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic and would be "on the lookout".

"Big street parties are illegal and reckless. These events should not be happening," she said.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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