Kelvingrove Park: Mounted police used to break up 'people's party'

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AN ILLEGAL Royal Wedding "street party" in one of Glasgow's main parks descended into violent chaos last night after being cut short by the police.

Officers were attacked by bottle-throwing thugs as they tried to break up a brawl at Kelvingrove Park, in the city's west end.

Hundreds of revellers were then involved in throwing missiles, injuring at least three police officers, before reinforcements on horseback were called in to try to restore order.

Mounted officers led a charge on the mob, which was heard chanting "f*** the police". Several revellers were thought to have been injured in the crossfire.

Police were still attempting to clear several hundred revellers from the park last night.

A spokesman for Stratchclyde Police said 21 arrests were made for a variety of offences mostly related to disorder and drunkenness.

Chief Superintendent Bernard Higgins said: "It's really disappointing that on the day of the Royal Wedding we witnessed the scenes we did. At one point my officers came under attack and one was taken to hospital suffering from a head injury. He has been discharged and will make a full recovery."

Police and Glasgow City Council decided against blocking access to the public park, despite the local authority warning that there were no health and safety arrangements, stewards, first-aiders or toilets organised.

However, police cars and vans were parked in Byres Road, near to Kelvingrove Park, and a police helicopter had circled overhead watching the crowds.

Organisers of the party, which had been promoted via social networking site Facebook and was advertised as running until 3am, pulled the plug on the event around 5pm as scuffles began to break out in and around the park.

They had earlier managed to smuggle sound systems into the park, as the crowd appeared to vastly outnumber a handful of police officers on duty.

As trouble flared, two police vans had their windows broken. One male officer was reported to have been hit with a flying bottle while a female officer was said to have been punched in the face as she tried to restrain a man. On Thursday, Glasgow City Council had warned against people going to the party amid fears over their safety.

However, the organisers issued a statement insisting the event was going ahead, adding: "We have sound equipment, DJs, an afterparty organised. Bring your mates, some food, and make a day of it."

More than 14,000 people had pledged through the Facebook site to attend the event, triggering fears that the crowd could overwhelm the park.

Officers were said to have taken a "softly, softly" approach earlier in the day, as up to 5,000 people went to the park, many with alcohol, despite a ban on public drinking in the city.

One reveller, who asked not to be named, told The Scotsman: "Most of the trouble was between people partying, rather than involving the police. Neds were looking for fights. Most of the problems started after police said they were going to shut down the party."

Revellers later told of their dismay at the trouble on the event's Facebook page.

Tanja Goral wrote: "I had an excellent time and I'm glad I left when I did. We're given the opportunity to have some fun and some people just can't handle their drink. The police are just doing their jobs, I don't like them, but I respect their job like anyone else's.

"I can bet that we will never be allowed to do this again."

Craig Easdale wrote: "This was a great event, and the behaviour of everyone was good on the whole, up until the police arrived.

"I feel if the event was shut down more calmly a lot of drama could have been avoided, and the police definitely didn't handle it as well as they could have."

A council spokeswoman said: "We warned people in advance not to go because of health and safety concerns. If was a completely unplanned and unauthorised party."

The Scottish Ambulance Service said they had units at the park, but no-one had been taken to hospital.

The organisers said they were inspired by Prime Minister David Cameron who urged party organisers not to be thwarted by red tape.

He had said: "These pen pushers are completely wrong.

"They have no right to stop you from having fun. I am the Prime Minister and I am telling you if you want to have a street party, you go ahead and have one."