A fight between two schoolgirls flared into a near-riot as hundreds of teenagers swarmed along a busy London shopping street.
Commuters dived for cover as around 200 teenagers, some carrying baseball bats, descended on Hoe Street near Walthamstow Central station, from 5pm last night.
Buses were diverted as officers cordoned off the area while dog handlers worked with the Met’s specialist TSG group to spend four hours restoring order.
Scotland Yard said three people had been arrested in connection with the brawl, believed to have been triggered by two girls from different sixth-form colleges fighting over the same boy.
Mobile phone footage circulated widely on social media showed groups of girls clashing in the street, tearing at each other’s hair and faces and weilding baseball bats.
Sir George Monoux, one of the two colleges whose students are said to have been involved, last night tweeted: “We are looking into this to see if this is associated with the college in anyway.”
On Tuesday evening, a crowd armed with baseball bats descends on Hoe Street near Walthamstow Central station. Police, including the Met’s specialist Territorial Support Group, are called in to deal with the violence. Later on shocking footage emerges on social media showing teenagers scrapping and brawling in the busy Hoe Street. MP Stella Creasy uses Twitter to condemn the violence and calls for people to avoid area. Police officers and dogs were discharged to confront the mob in Chingford Road as they try to control crowds in the area
Scotland Yard said three people – a 16-year-old boy, a girl of the same age, and an 18-year-old man – were arrested. MP Stella Creasy also shared police correspondence in which officers insist there was “no riot” but acknowledge there were “some small scuffles”.
The worst of the violence took place within yards of a McDonald’s restaurant which had earlier been swamped with more than 100 teenagers.
Nilufer Polat, 36, a waitress in restaurant Niyazi Usta, said: “There were two girls fighting in a big group. They were fighting and punching each other.
“Then there were hundreds of them shouting at each other. We locked the shop because they were all outside. I was scared. Police were trying to stop them but they couldn’t.”
A 31-year-old barmaid at The Goose pub said: “It was crazy. They were young kids. The police ran over and took them over to different sides and split them. We were surprised – that’s not normal for here.”
Sangeetha Ratnan, 46, was working in Foster’s Supermarket when the fight broke out.
She said: “So many people came together and started fighting. They were fighting everywhere. It was horrible.
“They were fighting everywhere. It was horrible.”
“They blocked the road for three and a half hours and we had no customers.”
Yoga instructor Sophia Pym, 30, was forced to cancel her evening class as central Walthamstow was put in lock down.
She was stuck in traffic when she saw a group of teenagers running towards her car with police in pursuit.
She said: “There was a feeling of electricity in the air. And I couldn’t believe when the police explained it was 200 kids fighting in the street.”
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy today called for an investigation into the “unacceptable” brawl and urged witnesses to hand photographs and videos into the police.
One teenager posted on Instagram: “Started off with two girls from different colleges having a fight over a guy they were both dating.
“Ended with rows and rows of police blocking roads and a helicopter.
“Who is this guy? Not just the cause of two girls fighting, but caused a riot between two colleges.”
Two people were today being questioned on suspicion of affray. A third was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.
Culled from the Evening Standard