Fifteen officers have been injured and police cars smashed up during “significant disorder” following a street party in Brixton overnight.
Footage on social media showed a line of police retreating from crowds of people running at them with makeshift weapons on Cecilia Road near the Angell Town estate in Brixton on Wednesday night.
Bottles were thrown at the officers and in one video a man appeared to be brandishing a long pole at them.
Another two men were seen carrying a large wooden table before placing it on the floor and ripping the legs off then running at the police who started to run away as the crowd came towards them.
Two men could be seen on top of a police vehicle smashing in the windscreen with a table leg and their feet.
Another man had what appeared to be a plank of wood and was hitting the back of a police van with it before it was driven off.
After the police had gone, footage showed some of the crowd fighting each other.
A Met Police statement said officers were called to the scene on Wednesday evening to reports of a large unlicensed street party and tried to encourage the crowd to leave as large gatherings are not allowed due to the coronavirus lockdown, but “they did not engage with police”.
More officers then came down and the group became hostile towards them and despite a dispersal zone order being granted the crowd remained.
None of the officers were seriously injured, but two required hospital treatment.
Four people were arrested for assault and public order offences and remain in police custody.
The crowd eventually left in the early hours of Thursday and police are now carrying out stop and search orders in the area “to prevent violence”, the statement said.
Lambeth Borough Commander Colin Wingrove said: “Our role is to protect the public and ensure guidelines are adhered to in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 protecting the NHS and save lives
“Our officers work incredibly hard to engage and explain the public health message and regulations to prevent such gatherings occurring.”
He called the gatherings “unlawful” and said they pose a risk to public health.
“The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form,” he added.
“An investigation into the incident is now taking place and those involved will be brought to justice.”