Arrests on London's Oxford Street following social media disorder plans

Traffic on the packed street was temporarily brought to a halt as police dispersed crowds

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Nine people have been arrested and 34 given dispersal orders after an incident on London’s Oxford Street following social media rumours of a planned disorder.

Two people were held in Essex for conspiracy to commit robbery following online social media posts, while others were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and going equipped to steal.

Police led away two young men in handcuffs near a McDonald’s restaurant, close to a shop rumoured to be the target of the disturbance.

As crowds gathered on the busy street, nearby shops briefly closed their shutters shortly after 3pm on Wednesday.

Traffic on the packed street was temporarily brought to a halt until four mounted police officers riding alongside security personnel were able to disperse onlookers.

There was a heavy police and security presence on the street in the build-up to the disturbance following the rumours on TikTok.

“Officers are continuing to provide a reassuring presence within the Oxford Street area. We have issued 24 dispersal orders and arrested five people,” City of Westminster Police said.

Dispersal orders provide the police with extra powers to break up groups of two or more people when they believe their behaviour is causing a nuisance, harassment or distress.

“We are aware of online speculation about opportunities to commit crime around Oxford Street," the Met Police said on Twitter.

“There will be a significant number of our officers in the area over the next 24 hours. Anyone committing a crime can expect to be dealt with robustly.”

Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest shopping street, with about half a million daily visitors.

Updated: August 10, 2023, 7:45 AM