MP calls for answers to cause of Brixton Academy ‘crowd crush’

MP calls for answers to cause of Brixton Academy ‘crowd crush’

Incident at Brixton O2 Academy
Incident at Brixton O2 Academy

An MP has demanded answers to what led to an alleged crowding at a concert at the O2 Academy Brixton, saying “ticketing and security procedures did not work as they should have”.

Three people are in critical condition and one person has been arrested following the incident during a show by Nigerian artist Asake on Thursday night at the South London venue.

The singer said he was “praying” for the injured.

Florence Eshalomi, Labor MP for Vauxhall, said in a statement published on Twitter: “It is very clear that ticketing and security procedures did not work as they should have for this incident to occur.

“We need answers as to how exactly this happened and protective measures against it. This is being fully investigated by specialist detectives with the support of Lambeth Council’s Licensing Unit.”

She added: “This is a deeply worrying incident and has turned what should have been a celebration into a very sad day.

“My thoughts are with those who got caught up in the crush last night, especially those who remain in hospital. My main hope is her full recovery.”

In a statement outside Brixton Police Station on Friday afternoon, Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said an “urgent investigation” was underway.

He said one person has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and three people are in critical condition in hospital following the incident, up from four reported by the force earlier on Friday.

Mr Wingrove also said an incident in which an officer “was apparently seen urging a member of the public” is currently under investigation by the force’s director of professional standards.

A total of eight people were hospitalized after a crowd tried to gain entry without tickets, the Metropolitan Police had previously confirmed.

Two less seriously injured were treated at the scene.

Asake, real name Ahmed Ololade, said in a statement on Instagram: “My heart goes out to those who were injured last night and caused every form of discomfort. I pray that you will recover soon.

“I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals.

“I still don’t have the full report from the event organizers themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance to Brixton Academy, but we are grateful that everything ended peacefully.

“For my folks who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I’m sorry it was cut short.

“Thank you for your incredible love, London. I love you too much! I look forward to seeing you again soon!”

Asake was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award for Breakthrough Artists in the UK.

Before the performance, he had posted on Twitter asking fans not to come to the venue unless they had a valid ticket.

The concert was the third of three sold-out dates at the 4,921-seat venue, completing a string of UK dates.

Footage released online showed large crowds outside the building on Thursday night, with many people holding cellphones and filming the scene.

In other video content, the crowd in the venue could be heard booing as it was announced from the stage that the show was being stopped.

A woman involved in the crush, who spoke to the BBC after being taken to hospital with suspected internal bleeding, said: “I couldn’t breathe and passed out completely. i thought i was dead

“I took my last breath and couldn’t get any more oxygen. I was so scared

“I just stood in line to give them my ticket and then the crowd out here was crazy, they just came and pushed and I just fell down.”

The scene outside Brixton O2 Academy
The scene in front of Brixton O2 Academy (James Manning/PA)

John, 32, who lives next door to the O2 and declined to give his last name, said police arrived after the gig was cancelled.

“I saw everyone on the doorstep of Brixton Academy, (back then) everything just stopped,” he said.

“It looked like the gig was canceled and then there was some commotion, some pushing and shoving and shortly after that the police came. Then it started and got aggressive.”

He added: “You could tell there was tension.”

He said people trying to get into the O2 broke the glass on the front doors.

“People at the front of Brixton Academy were really pushing and shoving and trying to break through the door and force their way in,” he said.

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove speaks to the media outside Brixton Police Station about the incident at the Brixton O2 Academy
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove speaks to the media outside Brixton Police Station about the incident (James Manning/PA)

“The glass of the doors was broken.”

Lambeth Police previously said emergency services visited the Stockwell Road venue after injuries were reported just after 9.30pm after “a large crowd tried to gain entry without tickets”.

Scotland Yard said police officers, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade were at the scene and found “a number of people with injuries believed to have been caused by crushing”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that his “thoughts are with everyone affected by the horrific incident at Brixton Academy”.

Belgian act 2manydjs have postponed their Saturday performance at the venue, setting a new date for February.

The group wrote on Twitter: “It is with pain in our hearts that we have to announce that due to the horrific events that took place at the O2 Academy Brixton last night, we have been forced to postpone tomorrow’s show.”

Described on the venue’s website as “one of Nigeria’s hottest breakout stars” Asake is touring with his debut album Mr Money With The Vibe.

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