Several individuals were apprehended by law enforcement authorities following clashes between officers and youths on London’s Oxford Street on Wednesday (August 9). These incidents occurred after rumors of an anticipated disturbance in the West End were disseminated across social media platforms.
This led to a high-profile police operation to safeguard the shopping district against potential looting and chaos.
Following the viral spread of a shoplifting call, footage showed police officers engaging in scuffles with young men in the bustling shopping area, leading to the arrest of at least nine people.
The Metropolitan Police swiftly launched a robust operation to protect the shops along Oxford Street amidst speculations of potential mass looting.
The area witnessed an increased presence of mounted police officers and dispatched vans of officers to maintain order.
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Previous incidents and mobilisation of forces
The current situation was exacerbated by a prior incident in which a mob had ransacked a candy shop, looting its stock and subsequently sharing videos of the act.
This event fuelled concerns and prompted mobilisation efforts. Two young men were apprehended near a McDonald’s restaurant close to a shop that was rumoured to be a target for the latest disorder, purportedly organised through TikTok.
Several nearby shops, including an optician and a pharmacy, briefly closed their shutters, causing temporary disruptions to traffic, reported the Evening Standard.
Numerous tweets, resembling the one provided below, spread speculations about a planned disturbance at Oxford Street.
London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, urged individuals to avoid participating in the “nonsense” propagated on TikTok, discouraging visits to Oxford Street.
He said the police’s collaborative efforts with the local community and retailers to ensure safety in the area. The Met Police reiterated their commitment to dealing robustly with any criminal activity in the region.
Police spokespersons confirmed close coordination with partners, including the New West End company, to promptly address any criminal behaviour. The public was encouraged to report suspicious activities to emergency services or the non-emergency helpline.