Hundreds of people took to the streets of Shoreditch last Saturday afternoon, defending their right to party at all-night raves.
Some 2,600 people indicated they would attend the protest after the event was organised on Facebook.
Protest organisers Acid City rejected the idea that those taking part were criminals, saying: “We portray the complete definition of peace, love, unity and respect.”
A female protester told Eastlondonlines: “No one understands illegal raves. Everyone used to tell me to go and I thought it was just a bunch of scumbags in a warehouse but it’s not like that at all. You go in, you get searched, everyone just wants to hug you and it’s all about the music. I don’t like the legal ones to be honest.”
Another protester, who also declined to give his name, said: “There’s no space any more for people to come and have a good time. For the vast majority of people, they can’t afford to go out drinking in London. It’s important to reclaim places in London where everywhere is inclusive.”
The event called on people to remember previous protests in support of rave culture. In January 1990, 10,000 people danced in Trafalgar Square to protest against the introduction of “anti-party” laws. The Criminal Justice Act and Public Order Act gives police extra powers to deal with raves. Last November an illegal Halloween rave in Lambeth descended into chaos and eight people were arrested after a six-hour standoff when riot police were bombarded with thrown objects.
Acid City said: “As a new year is upon us, it’s now our time as the new generation to take back our right in the underground scene. 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.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman at the scene of the protest told Eastlondonlines that police were present because they weren’t informed in advance by the organisers. “We didn’t know what was going to happen and there were some concerns that there may be people who want to engage in criminality. But that’s not the case at the moment.”