A vicious brawl erupted between thugs in a Brixton park just hours before up to 30 police officers were injured as they tried to break up a street party nearby.
Two yobs started fighting in Slade Gardens in the south London district at around 7.40pm.
The shirtless men, one in his 20s who had blood gushing from his face, threw wild punches at each other during the scrap.
The Metropolitan Police were called to the skirmish and a man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.
Witnesses claimed a helicopter circling overhead was looking for one of the fighters who fled before officers arrived.
The mob started fighting among itself in Slade Gardens in the south London district at around 7.45pm (pictured)
Two shirtless men, one who had blood gushing from his face, threw wild punches at each other during the scrap (pictured)
The Metropolitan Police (pictured on the scene) were called to the skirmish and a man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm
It came just hours before up to 30 officers were injured after a street party turned violent down the road on the Angell Town estate.
There is no suggestion that the two events, which happened 300m apart, were linked.
Footage on social media showed police vehicles being smashed and officers pelted with bottles and chased during clashes with a large crowd.
No 10 condemned the violence while Home Secretary Priti Patel branded it ‘utterly vile’ and said she would speak to Met Commissioner Cressida Dick.
Police said they were called to reports of a ‘large unlicensed music event’ in Overton Road, and officers tried to ‘encourage the crowd to leave’.
A Scotland Yard statement said: ‘The event continued and more officers attended the scene and the group became hostile towards officers.’
Two men set about vandalising a police car after a party in Brixton erupted into violence last night
Police were confronted by a mob last night and chased out of Brixton with people screaming ‘run them out’
One witness, who did not want to be named, said: ‘After the police backed up, the group of people then forced the police out of the estate, throwing things at the police, smashed up a police car that they abandoned and then it moved more towards the main road.’
Bus driver Michael, who did not wish to share his second name, lives in Overton Road and said it was ‘very upsetting’ that the violence happened in his area.
He said: ‘The whole thing should have been shut down earlier.
‘People who live here are not the culprits, it’s those damn fools from different areas that come down to tarnish the works and efforts that have been put into the area by the estate management.’
Four people are in custody after arrests were made for assault and public order offences.
The force said 22 officers were injured, two of whom required hospital treatment, while a small number of police vehicles were damaged.
But Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said nearly 30 of his colleagues were hurt, including ‘walking wounded’, and described the incident as ‘absolutely shocking’.
Groups of people confronted officers last night in Brixton after an unlicensed music event descended into chaos
Hundreds of people appeared to be at the late night gathering in Brixton last night
He said: ‘It’s a very, very difficult situation that my colleagues are faced with, with an unlawful event taking place and upon arrival they are met with hostility from the off.
‘No-one expects this level of violence and hostility to just erupt at the speed it does towards police. It’s horrendous.
‘We are rufty-tufty and can deal with violent disorder but it’s not pleasant and it’s not nice to have to go somewhere where someone wants to try and kill you.’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic are ‘deeply irresponsible and risk others’ lives’.
He added: ‘I’m in touch with the Met Police about the completely unacceptable events in Brixton overnight. Violence against the police will not be tolerated.’
The PM’s spokesman said the Government would shortly be launching a consultation on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker.
He said: ‘These were appalling scenes. Violence against the police will not be tolerated.
‘We have been clear that anyone who assaults the police or any of our emergency service workers who keep us safe should feel the full force of the law.’
Dozens of police were videoed at the scene last night (pictured left), in one clip a man could be seen advancing on officers with what appears to be a large piece of wood (pictured right)
There were a number of confrontations with police officers last night, who were later chased out of Brixton
Officers were confronted on multiple occasions last night (left and right) and were chased out the area at one point
Ms Patel condemned the violence, which came days after a suspected terrorist was tackled to the ground by an unarmed policeman in Reading, Berkshire, on Saturday.
She said: ‘These are utterly vile scenes. 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. I’ll be picking up with the Met Commissioner immediately.’
The Met said the party was cleared in the early hours while a Section 60 order, which gives police powers to stop and search without suspicion, was put in place.
Commander Colin Wingrove said: ‘Our role is to protect the public and ensure guidelines are adhered to in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, protecting the NHS and save lives.
‘Our officers work incredibly hard to engage and explain the public health message and regulations to prevent such gatherings occurring.
‘Last night we received numerous concerns from residents complaining about a large gathering, noise, anti-social behaviour and violence, and officers responded to those concerns.
‘These gatherings are unlawful, as well as posing a risk to public health and against coronavirus restrictions.
‘The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form.
‘An investigation into the incident is now taking place and those involved will be brought to justice.’