For the second night in a row an illegal “street party” in London devolved into a riot, with police officers being bombarded with glass bottles as they attempted to disperse a raucous gathering in Colville Gardens, Notting Hill.
Police deployed extra units across London on Thursday night, following up on an outburst of violence against officers on Wednesday, at an event Britain’s established news outlets characterised as a “party”.
Scenes again turned ugly in the Notting Hill neighbourhood in the early hours of Friday morning, with widely-distributed social media footage showing officers slowly advancing down a street to clear revellers and being pelted with missiles.
Kensington & Chelsea police said in a statement in the early hours of Friday morning: “Objects have been thrown at officers dispersing the crowd. Violence will not be tolerated & units are responding appropriately. This gathering is illegal & we ask anyone in attendance to leave”.
The force added the crowd had dispersed by 0200. There were no reports of “serious injuries” at the Notting Hill incident, according to Sky News.
London: ‘Hostile’ Crowd Attacks Police, 22 Officers Injured During What Media Called a ‘Street Party’ https://t.co/MP8Ku4GXGe
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 25, 2020
The night before, London police officers were attacked after a Brixton block party descending into chaos. Dramatic footage from the Brixton riot — which received relatively low-key coverage from the BBC and other mainstream broadcasters — showed a mob including one individual apparently wielding a sword chasing police officers from the scene, clambering over police vehicles, and violently smashing them with improvised clubs.
At least 22 officers were injured during the riots — comparable to some of the higher figures for the thousands-strong Black Lives Matter demonstrations which have turned violent in recent weeks — with two confirmed as requiring hospital treatment.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation which serves as something of a union for police officers in the capital, said there has been “an absolute volley of anger and hatred towards the police recently, branding the violence against them “despicable”.
“My colleagues are human beings as well – and suddenly… they’re confronted by people who ultimately want to cause them grievous damage,” he said.
“You can’t prepare for that. It’s deplorable. We emphasise again that police officers are not punchbags. Colleagues should be going home to their families at the end of their shifts and not to hospital,” he insisted.
“My colleagues are faced with all sorts of trauma from these incidents.”
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is now increasing its presence on the streets “in direct response to concerns expressed by our communities, many of whom were scared and shocked by the events taking place outside their homes.”
Police disperse large crowds in Notting Hill and Streatham as illegal raves took place pic.twitter.com/ZkDaKebDPe
— The Sun (@TheSun) June 26, 2020
Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose department has a broad remit encompassing policing, border control, and national security, said that the violence the capital is seeing is “appalling”.
“The police have my full backing in tackling criminality & enforcing the law — criminals will face consequences,” she claimed.
“My best wishes go to those officers injured.”
Some senior commentators, however, believe that the attitude of general appeasement towards illegal mass gatherings of Black Lives Matter supporters recently may have had a hand in the violence — particularly when it comes to officers “taking the knee” in an attempt to calm aggressive crowds.
“This, I’m afraid. Is a direct consequence of the police bowing to pressure to ‘take the knee’,” commented Sarah Vine, a right-leaning journalist — and wife of Boris Johnson’s influential Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove.
“It has undermined their authority — and as a consequence they will now have to double down to reassert themselves,” she added.
“Which will lead to more bad blood. And so the spiral continues…”