An early start for the long hot summer of 2011, with the warm weather prompting people to head out on to the streets and thegreat outdoors.
Two weeks ago, police broke up a party at Devil's Highway on land between Bracknell and Crowthorne in Berkshire, but not until about 1 pm on the Sunday after around 1,000 people had partied all night (see report at Get Bracknell, 10 April 2011). The party was seemingly put on by Koalition sound system (looks mighty crowded on the dancefloor!):
Last weekend there was a party in the woods near Catmore in West Berkshire. The police arrived at 4 am to close it down, but were prevented from doing so and the party continued until 11 am on Sunday. According to the BBC (18 April 2011), six people were arrested and sound equipment was seized. Thames Valley police claimed: 'This was an illegal rave which at times descended into violent disorder. When our officers tried to stop the event at around 4am, lots of missiles were thrown, which included burning wood. Thirteen officers and a police dog were injured in total. Fortunately, the rave happened in a very isolated location so there was minimal impact on the neighbouring community'. In that case it would probably would have been better for all concerned if the party had been left to get on with it.
Then there was Bristol on Thursday night this week, with a full scale riot in the Stokes Croft area after police raided the Telepathic Heights squat. Barricades were set up, a police car destroyed, and a Tesco store attacked. This film shows something of a carnival atmosphere with crowds of people milling around the street - note the bit where some people get hold of police riot shields and run up the road with them.
There was some heavy police violence, with even the local Labour MP complaining that she was shoved by a cop. As Oli Conner reports, people were injured in by police batons and dogs, with people taking photos being targeted by police (see also report at The Commune).
Apparently there were also saxophone players on a bus stop outside the squat during the riot, and the strains of Summertime could be heard...
See also: St Pauls Uprising 1980; Bristol parties 1611 and 2006.