Police wearing riot gear took 10 hours to break up an illegal rave party after being attacked by a crowd hurling iron bars and stones yesterday. Road blocks had been set up on Saturday night to keep an expected 2,000 partygoers away from the venue, a disused warehouse in Culham, Oxfordshire. But 200 people already in the building, formally part of the Culham Laboratory, defied police by dancing until 8.30 am. Inspector Ray Wilks of Thames Valley Police said: "Reinforcements were called in and sound equipment was seized. When officers tried a second sound system they were pelted with stones and iron bars, and forced out."There were a number of complaints by local residents and at 8.30 am officers wearing protective clothing re-entered the building and were met by a hail of missiles."They cleared the premises and found a stockpile of missiles. Drugs were recovered and a large quantity of sound equipment seized." The operation involved 100 officers.Five people were arrested in connection with public order offences. Guardian.
A VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
In the papers the police said it took 10 hours to break up the party which was basically bullshit.--They've had to justify to the police there actions and the expense.Yeah, only 5 people got done, for public order offences, not that there were any members of the public there.-- We've got to try, even with small incidents, to report them to United Sound Systems or the Advance Party so that we know exactly what the police are doing.Well they were heading toward illegally imprisoning people in these hangers. Cause they had been at the time legally squatted and the police came along and first wouldn't let anyone out then tried to search everyone leaving.I dunno the Oxford Police are just complete wankers - anyway - basically !!I went to the riot (Hyde Park) as well. I had two friends who had the shit beaten out of them one had to go to hospital with concussion which was quite unfortunate being totally innocent.Well that's the situation on the Oxford party anyway. A lot of what the Guardian said was bullshit about finding a stack of missiles and that.--There just gonna print what the police said.Yeah the police were just wankers, really On Top and quite tight. They had some really heavy stuff they had a vehicle that had a whole office and computer system inside it just like a portable police station.-- and this is before the Criminal Justice Bill comes in.!? Eyewitness who "defied police by dancing until 8.30"
CONFLICT OR COOPORATION ? A PLEA TO AUTHORITY
After the confrontation between police and party people in Oxfordshire at the end of October where 100 riot police entered a sealed warehouse inhabited by 200 dancers and proceeded to 'clear' the building, the time has come for both police, party organisers and local authorities to cooperate together to ensure 2 things. 1. The safety and rights of the people partying, the police and the local community. 2. The end of the waste of police resources and man hours used to curb party culture. End this confrontation , end this waste of police manpower, end the alienation of the young toward authority and society. Begin a dialogue.The police, local authorities and local residents have to accept one irrefutable basic tenant of our argument before we can go further, and that is - people are always going to want to party, to dance, to celebrate, always. It is not going to stop them by removing rights, implementing laws or using force. It's just a matter of how, where and when. The party people are just a part of the community (our community) as anyone else and deserve, at the least, a fair hearing and a modicum of tolerance and understanding. The local authorities have the power to grant licences to premises that can hold gatherings. These licences will only be granted after certain criteria has been fulfilled. Club owners have to provide adequate fire exits, sound-proofing, maximum fire numbers,etc. Co-operation between clubowners, Environmental Health and the fire brigade, for, not against adequate provision of spaces for recreational dancing and other purposes and control over large crowds of people is essential. Local authorities have the power to grant permission for gatherings on open land, and can grant licenses for designated for 'cultural' purposes, providing adequate provisions for safety, crowd control, parking, toilets, noise level, curfews, etc are met. Why don't they do it? Release the pressure!
The confrontation between Brighton authorities and the 'Courthouse' squat is an example. The old Court building opposite the Pavilion, which has been left to rot in the last 5 years, was squatted by the Brighton Campaign against the CJB. Since then these buildings have been renovated and transformed into a thriving centre, a focus for organising against the CJB and a base for numerous self organising community activities and projects, including a cafe, creche, artspace and workshops. What have the authorities done to support this initiative? Well, on the 2 November, they are under the threat of eviction and despite a spirited campaign by the time you read this they will be out, the building will be empty again, and the authorities will have alienated yet another group in their own community. Why?The alternatives to co-operation make grim reading. Conflict, confrontation and yet more conflict seem the only way forward, sapping resources and creating alienation. Draconian legislation that criminalises parties, festivals, protests and squatting and increases police brutality, custodial sentences, seizure of sound equipment and more is just the BEGINNING and is not the way to handle this social difference. Support of the CJB and it's anti-tolerance, anti-understanding stance is seen as a vote winner for the Tories (and Others). It is not really an effective way to encourage our society to live in peace, harmony and co-operation with itself.
In Canterbury for example, the 14 colleges and University entertainment premises are curfewed at midnight. The sole night-club at 2am. An application to open a new nightclub was refused on the grounds we already have a night club! An attempt to provide a free party on private land for 800 people near Canterbury was met with a £500 fine for "noise". No legitimate or illegal venues to party in allowed. Why?
Party people far from being law breakers, community disrupters and noise polluters are actually peaceful, co-operative law abiding citizens of the community. Who just happen to want to dance to music. Talk to them. Why is it that they constitute such a threat?You can hit us with 18" truncheons, run us over with horses, take us to court, jail us, hound us, persecute us as much as you want but we ain't going away. You won't break us. Curtail our freedom, if you can, but you won't sap our spirit. You won't stop us. We are doing nothing wrong. So why not talk to us?