Scuffles as eight stood out at New Year’s Eve fireworks in London | London

Scuffles broke out shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve in London as revelers without tickets tried to gain access to restricted areas. But overall there were just eight arrests as huge crowds returned to the capital for the first time in three years after pandemic curbs.

Metropolitan Police officers fired their batons when a ‘small but determined group’, who had kicked in fence panels in an attempt to gain entry, became aggressive towards stewards and officers, Scotland Yard said.

It was one of several incidents where groups of people without tickets forced their way past hoardings and fences, requiring police to support stewards in ‘difficult circumstances’ to prevent crowds to enter the ticket area and “maintain the safety and security of those already inside”.

The issue happened in the 45 minutes before the London Eye was lit up with 12,000 fireworks to a soundtrack from Stormzy to Neil Diamond and 400 illuminated drones formed the shape of the profile of the late queen before transform into that of King Charles III.

Six restricted areas on either side of the Thames have been designated for more than 100,000 £15 ticket holders, which went on sale in October and revelers were urged not to try and attend without a ticket.

Speaking after the exhibition, which also highlighted gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, the victorious Lionesses of England football team and a message of support for Ukraine, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “I’m proud that we sent a message of love, hope and unity.

The handful of arrests included two for drunk and disorderly driving, one for drunk driving and one for possession of an offensive weapon. There were two assaults on police officers who suffered minor injuries and a simple assault involving possession of cannabis.

A 31-year-old man, wanted by British Transport Police for five suspected indecent assaults on women, was arrested on the South Bank as part of routine patrols ahead of the New Year celebrations.

Elsewhere, police shut down a rave in Somerset woods where up to 200 people had gathered around a public address system and generator. Avon and Somerset Police were called to Rowberrow Woods 25 minutes after midnight but said organizers turned off the music at 7.30am.

In Scarborough, the council canceled fireworks on the advice of sea life experts after an arctic walrus arrived in the harbor earlier in the day. The decision to remove the display came amid fears the bangs could upset the mammal.

theguardian Gt

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