British police say 22 officers hurt in violence at illegal party

Unverified images on social media showed crowds confronting officers and attacking a police car. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM COOKIES_1CREAM/TWITTER

LONDON (REUTERS) - Twenty-two police officers were hurt during trouble at an unauthorised music event in London overnight where crowds attacked some patrol cars, British authorities said on Thursday (June 25).

Parties have been banned during Britain's coronavirus lockdown, though some people have been defying that.

"These are utterly vile scenes," said Home Secretary (interior minister) Priti Patel of the disorder in the capital's Brixton area.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the scenes as "appalling", adding: "Violence against the police will not be tolerated."

Police said they were attacked when responding to residents' complaints about noise, anti-social behaviour and violence.

None of the officers was injured seriously, though two required hospital treatment, police said in a statement. Some police cars were damaged and four people were arrested.

"These gatherings are unlawful, as well as posing a risk to public health and against coronavirus restrictions. The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form," said police commander Colin Wingrove.

Unverified images on social media showed a crowd - with one person holding an object that looked like a sword - confronting officers and attacking a police car.

Reuters was unable to independently verify those images.

Ms Patel said the incident was particularly wrong given the recent stabbing at a park in Reading where three people died in what police said was a terrorism incident.

"Just last weekend, the whole country came together to praise our heroic police officers for putting their own lives on the line to keep us safe," she said.

British police have issued warnings against holding parties or large gatherings during the lockdown to curb Covid-19.

Three people were stabbed and a woman raped after thousands of young people attended a "rave" in northern England earlier this month, one of a number of such illegal events to take place recently.

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