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Coronavirus: Locals not troubled by illegal street parties despite police clashes | UK News



Residents said they were unfazed by illegal block parties after riot police clashed with party-goers at unlicensed music events in northwest London.

Police spent a third night trying to break up illegal gatherings on Friday, with a Section 60 order allowing additional stop and search powers having been granted in the area overnight until 6am on Saturday.

A gathering took place in Kensal Town, northwest London, where one resident in Ashmore Road told Sky News: “They were just kids who came and enjoyed themselves.

“They just came for to have a good time and they’re gone now.”

Tanya Kabir said she believes the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to become frustrated at home

Neighbours reported seeing riot police clash with 200 party-goers before chasing them through nearby Riverton Close.

“I don’t know who they were. More and more people started showing up, and the music got louder,” said Orshe Lefler, a facilities manager who lives nearby.

“By 8pm it started to get bad, especially after the DJ arrived.”

Another local resident Tanya Kabir said she believes the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to become frustrated at home.

“If it wasn’t for coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd, this wouldn’t have happened. Coronavirus has got everyone depressed,” she told Sky News.

“My mates went to the party to have a good time, and it only got out of hand when the police arrived.”

Karma Hardy had to close early before the event started

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said it had been a “very difficult few weeks” for the force as lockdown eased in the capital, with officers sometimes coming under attack as they try to break up crowds.

She said the force had a “duty” to stop unlawful music events during the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed to shut down events that flout health regulations.

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

The commissioner’s warning comes after officers sent to break up a street party in Notting Hill were pelted with objects on Thursday night.

Glass left from the party

Police were also called to an unlicensed music event on Parry Road on Friday evening.

Karma Hardy, who helps out at the Coronation Mini Market nearby, said the store had to close early.

“Too many people came and it became crowded. There was no social distancing, so we had to close at 5pm when we would normally close at 8,” he said.

Imad Ichouche cares for his disabled cousin, who lives on Parry Road, and said he had to find an alternative route to get there because the gathering was so large.

“I had to go all the way around the other side so I could get to my cousin’s house,” he said.

“There was broken glass all over the entrance and I cut my hand trying to get inside.”

Police had arrived to clear an unlicensed music event

Police had arrived to clear an unlicensed music event

Teenager Amir Ali attended the party on Parry Road and told Sky News violence only started when the police arrived.

“Police are violent. They like to harass people,” he said.

“There’s a different side to the police that people don’t know about. They can’t stop us. It will happen again.”

Bottles were thrown at police officers who tried to break up one street party in west London on Friday night.

Footage posted on social media showed scores of young people in a stand-off with officers equipped with riot gear outside a block of flats in Harrow Road.

One video showed police being hit by projectiles, with one officer swinging his baton at a group of people on the street.

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