Street Parties!
London, 6 June 1998

At last! Photos from the South and North London parties.

Brixton Town Hall, 22:30 Saturday 6 June 1998 IMMEDIATE

Street parties "wicked"

Two streets in London were reclaimed for parties and the people shortly before two o'clock today.

By mid-afternoon the crowd near Seven Sisters station had grown to over 5000 people and a similar number partied in Brixton.

The parties finished at about 9pm. At the time of writing (10:30 pm) about 300 people remained outside Brixton Town Hall, listening to two groups of drummers in the almost-Mediterranean promenade atmosphere of a warm summer evening. Police continued to appear relaxed, and this time avoided the mistake of sealing off people's exit routes.

Reclaim the Streets apologised to Londoners inconvenienced by Tube station closures - "But you can be sure it wasn't our idea. Several hundred of us had to walk from the gathering point at Euston to Seven Sisters."

In North London, someone set fire to two old cars after the end of the party. RTS would point out that these were our cars, obtained to block the road, and that some of the most "aggressive" acts of which we are aware during the day were the enthusiastic reduction of these same cars to scrap, by a group of five- and six-year-olds.

As the smell of exhaust returned to the streets of Brixton, a participant commented "The whole of Brixton has been here with a real sense of community."

Let this be a premonition of a time when the present conditions of our lives will be no more than a memory.

Steps of Brixton Town Hall, 18:50

Not a press release...

The experience of taking the Tube from one street party to another comes highly recommended. To duck into public transport from the edge of a happy, gurning, dancing crowd and come up in the middle of another one... This is how our cities could be a lot of the time....

"The main trouble is," an RTS spokescreature said at 6pm, "that my face is still going to hurt on Tuesday from smiling."

Even the police were a bit more cheerful than the standard-issue "low profile, lads". On the Tube up to Seven Sisters, one party-goer suggested to a cop that the people holding the doors open for their friends might take better to a suggestion that they let the train go if it came from him, rather than a uniformed officer of the state - and was shocked to get a "Thank you!"

It's had to paint a word-picture of the party atmosphere. Ooop North, people are lying on the grass - carefully avoiding the flower-beds. They're chatting and kissing and sleeping to dance some more.

In Brixton there's a dub sound system, a rock-ish band, drums and saxophones - and one old-skool RTS sound system. Amazing banners, people - you'll have to wait for the photos - or send us some.

Thanks to the DogStar for electricity. Batteries flat. No thanks to the Ritzy or the Fridge management for refusing.

Seven Sisters Tube, 15:50 Saturday 6 June 1998 IMMEDIATE

London streets maintain party atmosphere

Two streets in London have been reclaimed for parties and the people since two o'clock.

Numbers at the North London party in High Road, Seven Sisters, (oops... not Seven Sisters Road) have risen to about five thousand. A live samba band has joined the three sound systems.

"I'd like the world to be like this, - people happy!" said a local resident watching hundreds more arriving. "It's a good idea," said Huacyin Gorur, a cafe proprietor, "there should be less cars in the city".

In Brixon High Street a Reclaim the Streets flag is flying over McDonald's and at least one Closed-Circuit TV camera has been wrapped in a bin-bag.

The biggest of the banners spanning High Road, Seven Sisters reads simply "Reclaim Space".

In Brixton one banner reads "Under the tarmac flows the river", referring both to the River Effra, buried (for now) under the roads, and the Paris 1968 slogan "Under the cobbles, the beach". Police attempted to intercept the climbers raising more banners but retreated in dissarray as a good-humoured crowd pressed in.

The parties are expected to continue until nightfall.

More soon.

Outside Town Hall, Seven Sisters, 14:20 Saturday 6 June 1998 IMMEDIATE

Two street parties in London

Within the past hour, two streets in London have been reclaimed for parties and the people.

About three thousand people are now dancing around three sound systems in High Road, Seven Sisters, (oops... not Seven Sisters Road), Tottenham. Another three thousand are partying in Brixon High Street.

The party in Brixton kicked off with red smoke filling the High Street as two pairs of old cars were crashed to close it to traffic.

The North London party-goers, who had gathered at Euston, spontaneously took over Euston Road from 13:10 to about 13:30. They danced to drums, chatted amiably with police and all but one motorist, and moved on cheerfully to Seven Sisters by tube.

The group Food Not Bombs are handing out free food at the parties. Local shoppers are joining in. "The police seem extremely relaxed and some are tapping their toes", said spokespeople from both parties, "We encourage them to stay that way."

The parties are expected to continue until nightfall.

What's it about, then? See the publicity for the London street parties and previous Reclaim the Streets propaganda.

The only printed coverage we've found so far is a photo and misleading caption in the Observer. The Ceefax and Teletext coverage is unusual.

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