Emancipation Day events and march held in Brixton

Katherine Johnston (01 August, 2020)

The Met says it has received intelligence other groups plan to gatecrash the event to hold unlicensed music events tonight

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Demonstrators are gathering in Brixton today to celebrate the abolition of slavery, call for reparations, and raise awareness of continuing structural racism.

Police are on stand-by at Brixton today (Saturday, August 1) as the planned demonstration and events held by various groups get underway.

Although the majority are expected to celebrate in a family-friendly event with social distancing, some shared posts about blocking the main road through Brixton town centre off, which police warned would create major disruption.

The Met says it has also received intelligence other groups are planning to gatecrash the event later in the evening to hold unlicensed music events.

As a result groups are only able to assemble in Max Roach Park, a designated area outside Brixton Police Station, and within part of Windrush Square, and have been instructed to leave by 8pm (See map below).

 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, in charge of the policing operation on Saturday, said: “The decision to impose conditions on an assembly is never taken lightly and is made following a vigorous assessment of the information available to us. 

“We have no intention of infringing upon a responsibly-organised community event. We only require that this is done in a way that makes use of Brixton’s open spaces and leaves the main road through Brixton open to other Londoners.”

The clear finish time is to ensure there is a ‘clear differentiation’ between demonstrators and those who may be planning to gather later for unlicensed music events, currently on the rise across London.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, added: “In recent weeks we have policed a number of UMEs in which loud music is played at night, disrupting local residents and posing a real threat both to property and the officers who attend to disperse them.

“We have received information that there are those intending to come to Brixton on Saturday to purposely cause disruption, and to confront police officers. 

“This is in stark contrast to the feel of the events that will take place earlier in the day and is in opposition to the wishes of the local community.

“As such, officers will be in Brixton throughout the day with the aim of preventing any disorder, but also stand ready to respond should there be anti-social behaviour or disorder.”

Cllr Jacqui Dyer, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Community Safety, said: “Planned events in Brixton this weekend could put our residents at risk, at a time when we are in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic, which is hitting Lambeth communities hard.

“People must protect themselves and this community by wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing at all times, regardless of what events are taking place. 

“While the right to protest must be respected and Lambeth council supports action to address racial injustice and inequality, now is not the right time to have large scale public gatherings. 

“We must put the safety of our residents first.”

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