Four people are in a critical condition after being injured in a suspected crowd crush outside the O2 Academy in Brixton on Thursday night.
People attending an Asake concert in south London were reportedly locked outside the music venue in freezing temperatures, prompting some to attempt to try and force their way inside.
Lambeth Police said emergency services attended the venue in Stockwell Road following reports shortly after 9.30pm of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”.
Scotland Yard said officers, the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the scene and on arrival they found several people with “injuries believed to have been caused by crushing”.
Eight people were taken to hospital and four remain in a critical condition, while two people were treated at the scene, the Met Police said. Detectives are now investigating the circumstances in which the people were injured.
The incident occurred during a performance from Nigerian Afrobeats singer and songwriter Asake, which was later cancelled part-way through after an announcement was made on stage.
The Mirror reported that a cancellation announcement had been made on stage during the gig in which the crowd was told the show had to be stopped due to a breach of the doors. An announcer reportedly told the crowd: “The reason we have to stop the show is because they have breached the doors. You’ve got 3,000 people have broken the doors outside and because of security the police have asked us to close the show.”
The message was met with booing from fans, before continuing: “This is nothing to do with us... There are people who’ve breached the door. They have broken in and security are trying to help with it.”
One woman who was attending the concert shared a video of the crowd on Twitter and said she was “squashed” as people “stampeded”. She wrote: “I can’t believe this was my reality yesterday. In the middle of this with nowhere to go. I was squashed, people stampeded in after hours of standing outside and having the doors closed. I could not breathe. I had a panic attack later on. I’m traumatised.”
No arrests have been made but detectives from Specialist Crime have launched an urgent investigation and cordons remain in place at the O2 Academy.
Asaka wrote on Instagram: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest.
“I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals. I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of The Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end.
“For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short. Thank you for your unbelievable love London. I love you too much! I’m looking forward to seeing you again in a bit!”
Witnesess urged to contact the police
Metropolitan Police Gold Commande Ade Adelekan described the incident as “extremely distressing” and urged any witnesses who are yet to speak with police to get in contact. He also appealed for people to “be sensible about what they share” on social media and “not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident”.
Mr Adelekan added that, where force has been used by officers, “those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions”, adding that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will look at all material, including body-worn video footage from those at the scene.
He said: “This is an extremely upsetting incident which has left four people critically ill in hospital. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. A police investigation has been launched, and it will be as thorough and as forensic as necessary to establish exactly what happened last night.
“The scene will be examined by specialist officers, CCTV will be viewed, every witness that we can make contact with will be spoken to, and all other lines of inquiry will be followed. Officers are remaining in the area to provide reassurance to the local community in and around Brixton. If you have any information or concerns, please speak with them.”
Referring to a clip he said had been “widely shared”, Mr Adelekan confirmed no police dogs were deployed to the location. He added: “I am aware of videos being shared on social media. I would ask people to be sensible about what they share, and not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident.
“Where force has been used by police officers, those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions. The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will view all material, including Body Worn Video footage from the officers at the scene. In relation to a clip being widely shared, I can confirm that no police dogs were deployed to the location.”
Any witnesses who are yet to speak with police are asked to call 101 ref 6725/15Dec. The Met has also asked that anyone with mobile phone footage of the incident that may assist police contact @MetCC on Twitter.