More than 4,500 extra officers will be deployed on London’s streets over the bank holiday weekend to police a fresh wave of environmental protests and dozens of illegal raves to replace Notting Hill Carnival.
The Extinction Rebellion group plans to target airports and block roads with rallies, marches, and sit-ins as it renews its campaign of “non-violent direct action” which last year brought central London to a standstill.
Anneka Sutcliffe, from XR Actions Circle, said a “few thousand” people had indicated they would join the protests, with marches starting from Tate Britain, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral and Smithfield Market to converge at a central location.
Meanwhile, Met chiefs have urged people to stay away from the traditional carnival route and watch this year’s festivities online. Officers have intelligence that up to 80 unlicensed music events are being planned across the city.
Commander Bas Javid urged revelers: “Watch the celebration of Carnival from the comfort of your own home. We urge people not to come into the traditional area to celebrate. There are no events. Where there are large gatherings of people, officers will be deployed to interact with those gathered.”
The Metropolitan Police has responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events since the end of June, with officers coming under attack at some in ugly scenes.
Mr. Javid added: “Unlicensed music events are a blight on our communities and cause untold distress and fear, often attracting criminal behavior and violence — if you have any information about an unlicensed music event, contact us so we can respond quickly to close them down.
“We know people will want to be out celebrating the holiday, and we want them to so safely — reminding Londoners of the restrictions which are in place to keep them safe.”
From today, anyone organizing an unlicensed music event or “any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more” could face fines of up to £10,000.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the rank-and-file Met Police Federation, said: “Officers don’t want to be lambs to the slaughter this weekend and be attacked at unlicensed music events and other protests.
“We are ready to deal with anything put in front of us but I have great concerns it will get out of control. This weekend has all the ingredients to be very, very stressful.”
Read more at Evening Standard
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