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Tube booze ban party sparks violence

PUBLISHED: 13:18 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

General view of the flash mob protesting at Mayor of London Boris Johnson banning alcohol on public transport being cleared out of Liverpool St railway station
(no by-line)

General view of the flash mob protesting at Mayor of London Boris Johnson banning alcohol on public transport being cleared out of Liverpool St railway station (no by-line)

Robert Logan

ALCOHOL flowed and punches thrown as a protest against banning booze on the London Underground got out of had on Saturday night and forced the closure of several stations. The protest was supposed to be a low key soiree to mark the end of drinking in public on the Tube network. But it turned nasty as thousands of drink-fuelled revellers boarded already-crowded trains for the Circle Line Party’ organised through the Facebook social networking website.

The free-flowing booze and crowded conditions led to 17 arrests

By Victoria Huntley

ALCOHOL flowed and punches thrown as a protest against banning booze on the London Underground got out of had on Saturday night and forced the closure of several stations.

The protest was supposed to be a low key soiree to mark the end of drinking in public on the Tube network.

But it turned nasty as thousands of drink-fuelled revellers boarded already-crowded trains for the 'Circle Line Party' organised through the Facebook social networking website.

The free-flowing booze and crowded conditions led to 17 arrests for offences including assault, drugs, drunk and disorderly, public order and assaulting police.

Transport Police had to call in The Met and the City Police for back-up as revellers got out of hand.

Some of the worst clashes were at Liverpool Street, one of the stations on the Circle Line police had to close, along with Aldgate, Baker Street, Euston, Euston Square and Gloucester Road.

There were four assaults on train drivers, three on other London Underground staff and two on officers, police later revealed.

One policeman at Liverpool Street ended up with a bloody nose. The tyres of a police vehicle were also slashed.

Liverpool Street didn't reopen until trains started running the next morning.

The alcohol ban came into effect on the Tube, buses, DLR and tram services across London on Sunday.

It was introduced as one of new London Mayor Boris Johnson's election pledges to curb antisocial behaviour.

Police Supt Ellie Bird said: "This was an unfortunate end to what was intended to be a fun event.

"The arrests were made following sporadic outbreaks of disorder which is very disappointing, given the intention of the organisers was that this should not be a disorderly or disruptive event.

"There was a definite festive atmosphere throughout the night.

"But a minority spoilt the party for everybody."

Police are viewing Saturday's melee as a 'one off' and not an indication of alcohol-fuelled disorder.

But the Mayor came in for attack from the RMT rail union who said he should personally apologise to all the rail staff who were assaulted or abused.

The union's general secretary, Bob Crow, called Saturday's violence "ugly" and among the most chaotic Tube staff had ever seen.

He said: "Cleaners, most of them on little more than the minimum wage, spent the early hours of Sunday clearing up a sea of vomit, urine, bottles, cans and other debris for no extra pay. That is a scandal."

victoria.huntley@archant.co.uk


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