2000 Londoners are marching for ‘Freedom to Party’
On January 30, a ‘freedom to party’ march will take place in East London. The protesters, spearheaded by the organization Acid City, take issue with the UK government’s crackdown on raves.
On the Freedom to Party event page, organizers recall a 1990 protest against anti-party laws which was attended by 10,000 people, and call for a 2016 revival to “Fight for what we believe in, let the Tory government understand our movement and culture and reasoning behind why we LOVE the free party community. There is no criminalisation in what we do. We portray the complete definition of peace, love, unity & respect.”
More than 2,600 have indicated that they are attending, and organizers reminded them “to bring all portable speakers, mini rigs, 12v rigs etc anything that plays music.” On nearly every post on the page, reminders to protest peacefully and non-confrontationally are reinforced, along with infographics of legal rights during a stop and search or arrest.
In October 2015, riot police clashed with ravers trying to reach a party in central London on Halloween. Legally, UK police are able to stop any group of more than 20 people in open air or in unlicensed premises, and seize sound equipment. However, in several instances earlier in October, the police have known about large gatherings and allowed them to continue.
The Metropolitan police are aware of the protesters’ plans, though the organizers have not responded to officers’ attempts to contact. “An appropriate policing plan will be in place,” said a spokesperson to The Guardian.