UK Police Struggled to Shut Down 3,000-Raver Anti-Lockdown Dance Party

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 24: Armed police officers and dog units stand guard outside Piccadilly train station on May 24, 2017 in Manchester, England. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena on the evening of May 22 as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester …
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British police struggled to shut down an event attended by 3,000 people near Bath, south-west England — another anti-lockdown dance party to take place during what has been labelled the summer of illegal raves.

Former RAF base Charmy Down, north of Bath in Somerset, was the scene of the mass illegal gathering. At the height of parting, music could be heard in Bristol — some 12 miles as the crow flies.

Over 3,000 danced into the night from Saturday until Sunday morning, with people are far as five miles away still hearing “loud, thumping music around 5 am” on Sunday, according to witnesses speaking to SomersetLive.

Avon and Somerset Police said that they were aware that an illegal rave was due to take place over the weekend and had managed to stop one before it started in Frome, south of Bath. The Guardian reports that police believed rave organisers had several locations on backup in order to evade police. There was one arrest and some sound equipment was confiscated, but the organisers remained one step ahead of the police.

It was not until 11 pm on Saturday when Avon and Somerset Police received a call from a concerned citizen that they located the event at the former World War Two British Royal Air Force and U.S. Army base. However, by the time they arrived, “the stages were set up and all the music was already going with many, many people at the site”, Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie told the BBC.

Admitting defeat, Wylie said his officers did not attempt to shut down the event.

“It became impossible for us to do anything… because of the safety of those partygoers, many of whom were drunk, many of whom were on drugs, and the safety of the officers attending,” he said.

Adding: “We don’t have a standing army waiting to deal with these issues.”

The event was shut down at around 1 pm on Sunday, with the site finally being cleared three hours later.

Meanwhile, in semi-rural Middle England, residents of Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire were surprised to find large groups of people walking around the town, with reports of an illegal rave near the Jackmans estate. There were also reports of ravers running across the A1(M) multi-lane motorway, according to the Hertfordshire Mercury.

With the closure of licenced venues, there has been a rise in what the BBC termed “quarantine raves”, a boom in illegal dance party gatherings not seen since the 1988 ‘Second Summer of Love’ which coincided with the popularity of House music and ecstasy.

At the time, residents complained of communities being taken over by ravers for sometimes days-long events, until the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act which made it easier for police to remove ravers. Ravers claimed of what they called heavy-handed tactics by the police, but leading officers said their subordinates found themselves the subject of attack as they tried to enforce law and order.

Club promoter James Morsh told The Guardian last month that the UK is experiencing a ‘summer of rave’ not seen since 1989, with “socially starved” young people looking for an outlet. Illegal raves are also taking off across Europe, including Portugal; Paris, France; and Berlin, Germany.

This summer of rave has seen reports of rape, stabbings, fatal shootings, and suspected drug overdoses, with criminal gangs reportedly funding the illegal events in order to have venues to sell narcotics and to drive demand.

However, despite decades-old policing laws, officers are struggling to stop illegal events, with notable reporting of Scotland Yard officers being attacked after trying to shut down what the media referred to as “street parties” in London neighbourhoods like BrixtonNotting Hill, and Newham which devolved into riots for three consecutive nights late last month.

The London street riots coincided with unrest in the day fueled by far-left Black Lives Matter protests, where activists attacked police and caused criminal damage in the capital. BLM vandalised the statue to Winston Churchill twice and desecrated the Cenotaph while police stood by.

London police were eventually forced to put up a guard around Churchill, before his figure and other memorials across Westminster were boxed up for their protection.

Bristol police had likewise stood by and allowed BLM rioters to tear down the statue of philanthropist, MP, and merchant Edward Colston over his ties to the slave trade, dumping his figure into the harbour.

“Bristol should be proud of itself,” Superintendent Andy Bennett later said.

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