Moment pro-Albania supporters clash with police at chaotic ‘independence day rally’ which saw convoys of flag-draped cars block roads and grind Central London to a halt
This is the moment police clashed with pro-Albania supporters during a night of chaos in London which saw thousands of Albanians descend upon the capital to mark the country’s independence day.
The streets around Westminster were blocked by raucous crowds waving Albanian flags and setting off fireworks last night, with Audis, Mercedes and convertible sports cars seen driving on the pavement and honking their horns.
Some people were seen waving flags while standing through the sunroofs of moving vehicles, while regular traffic trying to get through the capital was brought to a halt after the rally caused roads to be closed.
Cops from the Metropolitan Police were filmed desperately trying to hold back the mob in roads to allow cars to slowly inch their way forward through the capital’s clogged streets.
Another clip from the mayhem appears to show a group of outnumbered officers being forced back by the crowd of Albanians as the some of those rallying goad cops, chanting and hurling drink at them.
Police and people attending the rally clash near York Road in Waterloo as the gathering takes place on Tuesday
Police were pictured desperately attempting to hold back the crowd of Albanian supporters
At one point, police were forced backward by the crowd, with some throwing drink at the cops
Police attempt to clear York road in Waterloo during Albanian Independence Day
Police lead a man away from York road in Waterloo during Albanian Independence Day celebrations in central London
Albanians in London hold flags as they gather to celebrate the country’s independence day on Tuesday
The Met confirmed it arrested multiple people after some yobs threw fireworks towards the crowd, while others allegedly lobbed bottles towards officers.
The force issued a dispersal order on the streets of central London, giving officers greater powers to make people leave the area or detain them if they refuse.
Video shared on social media showed demonstrators driving through the capital in front of landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben with Albanian flags draped across their bonnets.
In one video, a young child was seen standing up through the sun roof of a car with an Albanian flag wrapped round him as fireworks were let off nearby.
In another, sports cars were seen mounting pavements as Westminster came to a standstill after similar scenes last year.
Loud firecrackers were let off while the long line of vehicles beeped their horns continuously to celebrate Albania’s independence, which is commemorated on November 28 each year.
The small European nation became independent on that date in 1912, just 111 years ago.
In a series of posts on X (formerly known as Twitter), the Met confirmed multiple offences had been reported during the rally.
Police are seen leading one person away following the disorder in London on Tuesday
Police lead a man away from the Albanian independence day rally in central London
Attendees wear flags as they gather in Waterloo during Albanian Independence Day celebrations
In one chaotic clip, a person is filmed clambering up a traffic light during the rally
A young child is seen climbing through a sun roof with an Albanian flag wrapped around him
The Met Police shared photos (above) and updates of the rally in London via their X account
Early in the evening the force wrote: ‘ Officers have stopped several vehicle convoys that have travelled into central London this evening.
‘A number of drivers have been reported for driving offences and several vehicles have been seized. Officers will continue to deal with anti-social behaviour.
‘We believe some of the drivers were travelling to a protest in Belvedere Road, near Jubilee Gardens.
‘This is ongoing and officers are there to keep people safe and to deal with any offences.’
The police later estimated that ‘around 1,000 people’ had gathered in Belvedere Road as part of the gathering, with the road closed between York Road and Concert Hall Approach as a result.
It added: ‘We’ve seen several people waving Albanian flags through the sunroofs of moving cars. This is clearly dangerous. Two cars have been stopped and anyone else seen doing this will be dealt with by officers.
‘The event in Belvedere Road continues and officers remain in the area to keep people safe. We have made one arrest after a man threw a firework towards the crowd near to Jubilee Gardens. He has been taken into custody.’
Albanians came in their droves to celebrate independence day in London on Tuesday night
Motorists drove through London with Albanian flags draped across their car bonnets
A masked man with an Albanian flag draped around his neck talks on the phone during the rally
The force later said a breakaway group of demonstrators gathered near Waterloo Station, where they clashed with police.
It wrote: ‘A group of people have now gathered in York Road, near Waterloo Station. Officers are in the process of clearing the road and enforcement action will be taken if necessary.
‘The breakaway group in York Road has become confrontational and aggressive with bottles thrown towards officers. Arrests have been made. We are using Section 35 powers to disperse the crowd and prevent further disorder. Belvedere Road is now clear.’
It follows a rise in Albanian arrivals to the UK last year via small boats crossings.
Figures showed that at least 13,000 Albanians entered Britain on small boats last year, which was just under a third of all arrivals.
It’s understood driving factors for people coming to the UK from Albania include better jobs and higher wages.
But former Home Secretary Suella Braverman sparked a diplomatic row with Tirana last October when she spoke in the House of Commons about ‘allowing all the Albanian criminals to come to this country’.
Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama described the comments as ‘disgraceful’. He added ‘Albanians are not just about the boats’ and warned against allowing ‘some rotten apples’ to shape the view of his countrymen.
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