A teenager who was fined £200 after attending a Halloween rave last year claimed “raves aren’t anti-lockdown, they’re anti-capitalism” as he left Bristol’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, February 9.
18-year-old George Parsons attended the illegal rave at a warehouse in Yate, near Bristol, which attracted an estimated 700 people with violence breaking out when police arrived onto the scene. One woman was hospitalised after being attacked by a police dog.
When asked about the threat of spreading the coronavirus and people becoming seriously ill from infection, he said: “People are affected by the modern way of life whether there’s raves on or not. … I’ve had so many of my friends seriously ill through the modern way of life. So the raves are a way to respect them.”
Fellow defendant George Packham was also filmed leaving the court alongside Parsons giving a thumbs up and mockingly saying “Obey. Obey.”
Here’s a conversation I had with a man who had just been fined over a huge illegal rave in Yate.— Conor Gogarty (@ConorGogarty) February 10, 2021
No, me neither. pic.twitter.com/PYAFGmagV7
People breaking lockdown to attend raves and expressing the type of views shared by Parsons were condemned by established free party crews in a Mixmag feature last June.
They stated that while illegal rave culture has a historically anti-capitalist aspect to it, lockdown rules are not “bad laws” that are justified in being broken.
“Free parties are about defying bad laws: the laws of property keep some people homeless whilst others own multiple glittering palaces that they keep empty; they kick locals out of their social spaces and deny them places to create and enjoy their own culture.
“That’s why we do squat parties - to give each other a sense of our collective power and help defy bad laws.
“However, the lockdown isn’t a ‘bad law’ – it’s not even really a law.
“In reality, the government has not enforced a proper lockdown like other countries, and the elite - like Dominic Cummings - have completely ignored it.
“It’s been the working class who have actually done their best to keep the most vulnerable safe, and free parties - as a working class cultural movement - will absolutely hold the line too.”
The nightlife industry has been similarly critical of illegal raves due to the health risk, as well harming the industry's reputation and further delaying the return of legal nightlife.
The International Nightlife Association [INA] recently called for the "maximum penalty" for pandemic party organisers, saying that they “have caused very serious damage to the image of the nightlife industry and have posed a serious public health risk.”
Read this next: Partying through the pandemic
In court, prosecutor May Li said of Parsons’ offences: “Mr Parsons stood in front of police and refused to follow requests, which in turn fuelled others around him.
“He was forced back towards the door, resisted and refused to leave. Some of the revellers threw bottles towards the police which made contact with their shields.
“Mr Parsons was pushed back by the officers but he was seen to kick and punch the police shields.”
Parsons admitted he refused to leave but denied he was violent.
He told the court during the hearing that he has been squatting in a caravan in Bristol’s Easton area and lives “all over the shop”, but any post for him could be directed to his mum’s house in Ugborough, Devon.
He was fined £200, as well as being ordered to pay a £34 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.
The UK has recorded close to 4 million coronavirus cases and more than 114,000 deaths due to the disease since the start of the pandemic.
[Via: Bristol Post]
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
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