An illegal warehouse rave on an industrial estate in Barking on Saturday night descended into chaos after police arrived and attempted to shut down the party.
In scenes similar to the Halloween riot last October at a rave in Lambeth, a street riot was sparked as ravers responded to the arrival of riot gear-clad police and dog-handlers by throwing bricks during a four-hour clash.
Nine police officers were injured and nine men were arrested as an estimated 2,000 people were cleared from the area. A teenage girl was also hospitalised after collapsing of a suspected drug overdose at the scene.
Several cars in the area were vandalised, with the roads around the warehouse becoming strewn with broken glass, bricks, bottles, cans and laughing gas canisters.
Police became aware of the event at an abandoned warehouse on Thames Road at 9:30pm after officers of the British Transport police reported seeing hundreds of young people arriving at a nearby railway station.
The venue was emptied by 2am on Sunday morning, with road closures put in place, officers patrolling the area and helicopters scanning overhead across the day.
One witness said: “There were about 2,000 people there and hardly any police so they were trying to calm everything down. But it started turning nasty.
“I think a lot of them were underage kids. They demolished a wall to throw bricks at police. Lots of the officers got head injuries. There was one 16-year-old girl who collapsed after she overdosed.”
A local businessman Imran Khan, 49, who owns a nearby warehouse, said: “I was here until 3am. People were everywhere. About 500 got in. They were underage so they can’t be in the nightclubs. They were all drugged up and many were intoxicated – it was like a big storm of people.
“The trouble-makers were abusing people and swearing. They were throwing stones at coppers desperate to get inside somehow. The police did a really good job. It’s very sad. I saw one police officer with blood running down his face.”
A full investigation into the incident has now been launched, with Temporary Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, borough commander for Barking and Dagenham, saying: “A number of officers were injured whilst going about their duties and this will not be tolerated," adding that "we will endeavour to bring those responsible to justice."
[Via: Evening Standard]
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter