World

UK cops hurt trying to break up unauthorised event

Four people arrested, none of the officers seriously injured

LONDON: 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 yesterday.

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

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence against the police.

"These are appalling scenes. Violence against the police will not be tolerated," he told reporters.

"We have been clear that anyone who assaults the police, or any of our emergency services workers who helps keep us safe, should feel the full force of the law."

The outrage was echoed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

She said of the disorder in the capital's Brixton area: "These are utterly vile scenes."

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

None of the officers were injured seriously, though two required hospital treatment, the 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," said police commander Colin Wingrove.

"The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form."

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 the spread of the virus.

Wednesday's figures show another 154 patients with the virus had died, taking the country's total to 43,081 deaths.

COVID-19 SURGE

In a separate development, the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday said Europe has seen a surge of Covid-19 cases since countries began easing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

"Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months," the WHO's regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters.

He said more than two dozen countries in Europe had seen resurgences of the deadly virus.

"Thirty countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks.

"In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe," he warned.

He did not identify the countries by name, nor provide detailed numbers.

Europe reports close to 20,000 new cases and over 700 new deaths daily. - REUTERS, AFP

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