How UK Ravers Raged Against the Ban
The 1994 Criminal Justice Act is responsible for the club culture we know today.
As far as bizarrely vindictive legislation goes, Section 63 of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act is up there with any other needlessly discriminatory British law. Giving police the power to shut down events featuring music that’s “characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”, the clause was aimed unequivocally at one particular glass-eyed, cheek-chewing threat to the nation’s youth: the UK’s illegal rave scene.
Revolt of the Ravers – The Movement against the Criminal Justice Act in Britain 1993-95
It is twenty years since the British government first announced that it was bringing in new laws to prevent free parties and festivals. The legislation that ended up as the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 prompted a mass movement of defiance with long lasting and sometimes unexpected consequences.
Riot police fail to disperse unlicensed street parties anwhere in London – Harrow Road/Riverton Close, in Maida Hill, Newham, Kingston, West Kilburn, Clapham Common and Brixton
In another night of tension between police and Londoners, officers were called to a number of illegal raves across the capital
By Sam Truelove Senior reporter 10:23, 27 JUN 2020
Hundreds of people attended a handful of unlicensed music events across London in another night where police were attacked by revellers.
Riot police were reportedly pelted with bottles and other missiles as they attempted to disperse crowds in West London, while around 300 youths were seen drinking and listening to music in Kingston.
One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm after police were called to a block party in Newham.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, says “consequences will follow” for those who attack officers and damage property as she promised to continue to shut down illegal parties in the capital.
Below are all the unlicensed music events that we are aware of which happened on Friday night (June 26).
Harrow Road/Riverton Close, in Maida Vale
Hundreds of people attended a block party in Harrow Road, West London (Image: Charlie Jones)
Police were first called to Harrow Road, in the area between Maida Hill and West Kilburn, to reports of an unlicensed music event at 3pm.
Reports on social media suggested hundreds of youths and young adults were at the event, with videos showing the group in a stand off with officers in riot equipment near a block of flats.
One video appears to show riot police being pelted with bottles and other missiles as they attempted to disperse the crowds.
MyLondon journalist Charlie Jones was reporting live from the party and said: “Violence started earlier tonight as police tried to break up a party just off the Harrow Road in West London.”
He added at 11.40pm: “Harrow Road party has moved a few streets down. Officers haves blocked most entrances. MC is saying three minutes left, suggests the police have given an end time.
“We’ve been on the last song for about 20 minutes now at Harrow Road party. Police still in position blocking main entrance/ exit with a hard line – no one let through.”
At some point during the evening, the party seemed to move to Riverton Close with the large group continuing to play music and congregate until the early hours.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said no arrests were made: “Police are responding to an unlicensed music event on Harrow Road, W9. Officers were called to the location around 3pm following concerns from residents.
“Officers engaged with the attendees, who refused to leave the location.
“Following engagement within the local community we are hopeful that crowds are dispersing. No arrests.
“A section 60 has been authorised in the vicinity until 6pms on Saturday, June 27. Officers will remain in the area in order to provide reassurance.”
One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm after a gun was allegedly found at a block party in Newham.
Police were called to Hoskins Close at 4.49pm to reports of a large gathering of people who were setting up a sound system.
When officers arrived, a suspected firearm was discovered.
The crowds were dispersed and the man was taken into custody.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “A man has been arrested and a firearm has been seized following reports of a large gathering in Newham.
“Police were called to Hoskins Close, E16 at 4.49pm to a report of a large gathering of people who were setting up a sound system.
“Officers attended and dispersed the crowd, they remained on scene and a suspected firearm was discovered, it was immediately seized.
“Following enquiries in the area, a suspect was identified and was arrested for possession of a firearm. Officers remain in the area.”
Around 300 people attended an unlicensed music event in Kingston Riverside and Kingston town centre on Friday night.
More than 50 police officers were called to the area at 11pm to disperse the group.
It was the second time in 24 hours police were called to Kingston Riverside, with more than 200 people seen “drinking alcohol and playing loud music” on Thursday night (June 25).
A spokesperson for the Met said on Saturday morning: “At approx 11pm last night, over 50 officers from Emergency Response Team A, other South West BCU teams and Met Task Force enforced the dispersal order for Kingston town centre. Approx 250-300 people were removed from Kingston Riverside and the town centre.
“A dispersal order, issued under Section 35 of the Police and Crime Act 2014 remains in place until 12.29am [on] Sunday, June 29. This gives police the power to direct people to leave the area and not return within 48 hours. Anyone breaching this direction can be arrested.”
Hundreds of people were spotted on Parry Road in West Kilburn on Friday evening listening to music.
Videos posted on social media show revellers listening to the loud music at around 12am.
It’s understood the group moved from Parry Road to near Lynford Community Hall at some point during the evening.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “In response to the on going incident on Parry Road, W10 we have our eyes in the sky monitoring.”
Reports on social media suggest around 500 people were spotted on Clapham Common late on Friday night.
Again, loud music was being played through a sound system.
One person said on Twitter: “Clapham Common has 500 yuppies partying with a sound system. I don’t care except that 1 mile down the road is Brixton, where riot police turn up to shut down much smaller parties.”
Another tweeted at 12.40am: “People are still in Clapham Common park at this time. Bloody foxes.”
Police respond to the unlicensed music event in Blenheim Gardens, Brixton (Image: @MPSWestminster)
It’s understood there was an unlicensed music event on Blenheim Gardens, Brixton. on Friday night.
Police were called at around 12am and remained at the scene throughout the night.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “Public Order Trained Officers are on scene at Blenheim Gardens, W11 along with @NPASSouthEast dealing with an incident. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but we are worked to bring the event to a safe conclusion.”
What have police said?
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says “consequences will follow” for those who attack officers and damage property as she promised to shut down illegal parties in London over the weekend.
Cressida Dick writes in The Sun that it has been a “very difficult week” in the capital, with officers coming under attack as they tried to break up crowds.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has promised to shut down illegal parties in London (Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire)
The commissioner said: “The officers I met this week were poised to deal with whatever they faced. Hundreds ready in full kit, should there be a violent or aggressive crowd to deal with.
“My message to those involved in thuggery and criminal damage is consequences will follow.”
The top officer earlier said the force had a “duty” to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic and vowed: “We will be prepared this weekend.”
She suggested the number of police injuries is now “heading up to 140-odd officers” in the past three weeks, including those hurt during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.
The commissioner said: “We have seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations, seeming not to care at all about their own or their families’ health and wanting to have large parties.
“It is hot. Some people have drunk far too much. Some people are just angry and aggressive and some people are plain violent.
“We will be prepared this weekend. We have officers all over London working hard again to try to keep the peace and to protect our public from violence and disorder.”