The ‘Nicolas Cage’ mansion party in Marble Arch has been getting a lot of attention on the news, probably because when presented in the press it showed the squatters as violent, obnoxious drug users. While this may be true for a bunch of them, I had an invite down to the party. I didn’t make it, but some friends did.
Why was it called the Nicolas Cage party? Because that was the password you had to use to get in. The event took place last Thursday, at 11PM.
Our source tells us, as he arrived at around 11.30PM, he was amazed by the “swarm of emergency services, paddy wagons, fire trucks, ambulances, everything except tanks” blocking off all of Oxford Street. There were also bemused traffic police “pacing up and down waving their arms around.”
There were a large amount of partygoers, says our source, but definitely “not the kind of numbers newspapers later exaggerated, estimating stupidly high figures in excess of 3,000.” He found it impossible to get more than several hundred metres to the premise thanks to a wall of fully armoured riot police, armed with batons, blocking off the entire road to the squat itself.
The Eye’s friend tried to find a way through the blockade, walking past “what must have been about five or six roads around the area,” finding that every single one of these had been blocked by line after line of riot police. Crowds were powerless to do anything “other than stand around waiting for the police to leave us alone,” then “for what seemed to be no apparent reason, the police took it upon themselves to launch a charge at us.”
The charge created sheer chaos where there had been none at all before. The crowd, unsurprisingly, bolted and launched into a “panicked stampede, knocking people over.” When the chaos of the charge died down, the police took it upon themselves to launch another charge about ten minutes later. “It was pretty scary.”
There were no acts of violence witnessed while our source was there: “I didn’t notice a single act of violence among the party goers, not a single bottle, brick, or missile of any kind as the police and the press later claimed. Where the hell would we have gotten bricks from anyway!?”
The only violence, said our source, was from the actions and behaviour of the police themselves.
“Over the next couple of days as I read reports in the press on what had taken place that night, I couldn’t help but laugh at they way we had all been villainised to the point of de-humanising us, descriptions came out about how the local populous found it ‘terrifying’ describing us a ‘drug addled mob’ who ‘crawled like ants all over the place.’ I had no idea we had the power to command such fear and terror!
“Although I was only there for a short time, there is no doubt in my mind that the scene was mostly calm until the police started interfering with everyone, there presence was frightening and to be charged at by what were effectively armoured storm troopers for no reason is something that truly is terrifying. The decision to seal off Oxford Street, a main artery of London, seemed excessive - especially as the squat itself lay a couple of streets back from there. The huge number of police sealing off so many other roads around the area was unnecessary and ridiculously over the top.”