Police officers assaulted as hundreds of revellers break lockdown for London street party
3 June 2020, 15:40
Hundreds of people were moved on by police after breaking lockdown rules by attending a huge street party in north west London.
Around 500 young people gathered on the Stonebridge Estate in Harlesden for the block party, playing loud music, dancing and drinking in the street.
The police helicopter and several riot vans were dispatched to break up the gathering, with lasted until gone 3am.
Eleven officers were assaulted and received minor injuries when a "small minority" refused to leave, with five people arrested.
The party took place in Brent, the London borough with the most coronavirus deaths at 465.
Lockdown rules were relaxed on Monday, allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors, but large gatherings are still banned.
One local branded the group “selfish idiots” and said “guess no-one gets any sleep tonight.”
In a statement on her website, local MP Dawn Butler said she was “stunned, but not too shocked” by the party.
She also said that "according to ONS data, Church Road has had far more deaths than anywhere else in the surrounding areas.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "At approximately 18:45hrs on Tuesday, 2 June, police responded to local community concerns that around 60 people were gathered at an unlicensed music event on the Stonebridge Estate, Brent, NW10.
"Officers attended and engaged with those present to encourage them to go home. The group began to disperse.
There's a massive block party going on in Harlesden like Coronavirus never existed.— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) June 3, 2020
They better get the London Nightingale Hospital ready.
Totally unfair on all the emergency service workers who've been exposed because people wanted a drink and some fun.pic.twitter.com/8Oo1Yfb6Nv
"However, a larger group of around 500 people then gathered in Paulet Way. Officers were in attendance and again engaged with those there to disperse the group, which the vast majority began to do.
"Eleven officers were assaulted and received minor injuries when a small minority refused to leave.
"Five arrests were made – three for assault on police, one for affray and one for attempted grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving. All remain in custody at this stage.
"The group had entirely dispersed by around 03:40hrs."
Ms Butler wrote: “It has come to my attention from several social media clips sent to me that an illegal block party was held in Brent yesterday.
Harlesden you should be ashamed of yourself! You’ve been posting black lives matter and black screens all day, only to host a block party in the middle of a pandemic. pic.twitter.com/4oWtVoqNAg— MAVRCK (@IamGONNA) June 3, 2020
“For something that started at around 30 people and ended up with around 500 people, I was stunned but upon reflection, not too shocked.
“Recent reports in regard to how the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser Dominic Cummings blatantly broke the rules whilst he was suspected to be infected with the Coronavirus, and has been protected by government, has irked a lot of people – myself included.
“A Government that is morally bankrupt when it comes to following their own rules, and when it comes to issues of race, lacks any moral authority to tell people what to do. I understand this more than most.
“However, our community in Brent has suffered hugely from COVID-19.
“We have the highest amount of deaths out of all London Boroughs. And everyone needs to know that, according to ONS data, Church Road has had far more deaths than anywhere else in the surrounding areas.”
She continued: “I am sure we all know someone who has died or who has suffered from this virus, therefore we must look after our own. That means making informed decisions.
“The virus is still prevalent and there is no vaccination. Hundreds of people are still dying every day in this country, while Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people are 3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than any other group.
“I have been on record as being worried about the second spike in the virus and I really hope that we won’t see a second spike in Brent.
“So, I say to the predominantly young people in Brent: I know it is hard. I understand being cooped up isn’t easy, but please make informed decisions and avoid situations like the one yesterday.
“Act like you have the virus and everyone around you has the virus. Know that Black Asian people are 3 times more likely to die from the virus.
“I know that personally I don’t want to be responsible for giving the virus to my Mum, so I haven’t seen her in weeks.
“Let us all understand the risks and the law and do what we can to keep safe – ourselves, friends, families and the community.
“Our community is our strength and we must do all we can to protect each other.”
Chief Superintendent Roy Smith, Commander for North West London, said: “Our officers are working hard to engage with the public to reinforce the public health advice on social distancing and large gatherings – overwhelmingly our local communities have been supportive and responded to this approach and we thank them for that.
“To the very small minority who chose to break the law last night and who were not from the local area, I am clear; you do not reflect the communities of Brent and we will take appropriate action.
"Local residents should be reassured we will be increasing our patrols in the area following the incident.”