Police arrested 10 revellers as crowds spilled over into Oxford Street last night after thousands of weed smokers descended on parks across the country to protest against cannabis laws and mark ‘420’ day.
Footage captured dozens of officers using dogs to disperse attendees who had left Hyde Park at around 9pm, with one detective saying some were ‘involved in assaults’ with a ‘machete seen’.
One clip appeared to show a German Shepherd nipping at a man’s leg, causing him to fall to the ground as screams and car horns could be heard blaring in the background.
Superintendent Dan Ivey wrote on Twitter: ‘This was a proportionate response to a large crowd leaving the park, some involved in assaults, with a machete seen, one knife recovered, along with a knuckle duster. All is now calm. Ten arrests made.’
Revellers were arrested for a range of offences, including possession of class A drugs, possession of class B drugs, possession with intent to supply, offensive weapons, affray and assaulting police.
A man was also seen being arrested after refusing to throw away his stash and ‘reacting angrily’ to officers, reported MyLondon.
Earlier in the day, clouds of smoke rose above large groups and music boomed from sound systems as attendees took over London’s Hyde Park and Woodhouse Moor in Leeds.
One attendee could be spotted grilling meat on a barbecue while a number of stalls were set up selling smoking paraphernalia such as bongs.
And another person claimed to have spent £650 on a huge joint, saying: ‘It took me six hours just to grind up. It cost between £650 and £700. I split it with my mate, we just bought it straight out.’
Marijuana lovers unite for the rally every year on April 20, the date corresponding to the code name 420, and gather to demand the drug is decriminalised.
Footage (still above) captured dozens of officers using dogs to disperse attendees who had left Hyde Park at around 9pm, with one detective saying some were ‘involved in assaults’ with a ‘machete seen’
One clip appeared to show a German Shepherd nipping at a man’s leg, causing him to fall to the ground as screams and car horns could be heard blaring in the background
People attend a demonstration to mark ‘420’ day in Hyde Park, central London, on Wednesday afternoon. Clouds of smoke was seen rising above large groups and music heard blaring from sound systems
A man was seen being arrested (above) after refusing to throw away his stash and ‘reacting angrily’ to Met Police officers, reports MyLondon. Anyone caught with cannabis can be issued a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90
A woman smokes during a demonstration to mark ‘420’ day in Hyde Park, London. A number of stalls were set up selling smoking paraphernalia such as bongs
Growing, possessing or distributing the Class B drug is against the law, but some councils in the UK don’t pursue those who use cannabis for ‘personal use’.
While police usually turn a blind eye to the gathering – as long as people remain calm and good-natured – the law states that anyone caught with cannabis can be issued a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90.
The annual ‘420’ tradition is said to have started in America because April 20 in the U.S. date format reads as 4/20.
There are many stories behind the significance of the number in stoner culture, but the most common is that 4.20pm is touted as the best time of the day to start smoking the narcotic.
There are drug and cannabis-related rallies worldwide, but Hyde Park is known as the largest in the UK.
Gardeners from the Royal Park will also have to tidy up the venue in time for a 41-gun salute to mark the birthday of the Queen at midday tomorrow.
Last year – when outdoor gatherings were only permitted for groups of up to six people – cannabis fans flocked to the park despite police warning that £200 fines would be issued for those flouting lockdown rules.
In 2017, 12 people were detained by police at the rally. And the 2015 pro-cannabis rally saw more than 50 people arrested, despite claims from organisers that the event was peaceful.
A man smokes a huge joint during a rally to mark the informal cannabis holiday in Hyde Park, London, on Wednesday
A man smokes a joint during a demonstration to mark the informal cannabis holiday in Hyde Park, London, on Wednesday
People play chess as they attend a demonstration to mark the informal cannabis holiday in Hyde Park, London, this afternoon
A man smokes a joint during a rally to mark ‘420’, the unofficial cannabis holiday, in Hyde Park, central London, on Wednesday
A group of people sit next to each while smoking joints during the demonstration in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon
Police officers turn up to the event in Manchester and speaks to members of the public about reports of loud music
A woman uses a bong at the demonstration in Manchester. The 420 holiday is mainly celebrated on April 20 at 4:20pm
What is 420 Day and where does the name come from?
Rallies celebrating weed are to take place across the world today, the date corresponding to the name 420.
According to theories, the origin of 420 is said to have come from the penal code that Californian police used to categorise cannabis cases.
Others say that in 1971, students at a Californian high school are believed to have organised to meet at 4.20pm to find a plot of land to plant a cannabis plant.
Police have warned that officers will be present at events across the world and that the usual drug laws will apply.
There are typically rallies worldwide including in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. The biggest UK event celebrating the festival is usually at London’s Hyde Park.
However, due to Covid rules the event has been massively scaled down this year, with just a few people gathering on the grass.
In the UK cannabis users could go to jail if caught although traffickers and dealers are more likely to receive prison sentences.
The term 420 is thought to have been created by a group of high school students looking to arrange a time to meet up, smoke marijuana and search for plot of land grow more of the cannabis plant.
According to High Times, the cannabis magazine, in 1971 five students at the San Rafael High School in California decided to meet every day at 4.20pm to smoke marijuana by the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur.
The password for the meeting was ‘420 Louis’. The five students called themselves ‘the Waldos’.
The magazine then says the term faded into obscurity only to gloriously be brought back by a connection to the Grateful Dead band, at whose shows mysterious 420 flyers began popping up.
The Waldos insist on their website that they weren’t stereotypical stoners, and shouldn’t be confused with Spicoli from the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High or comedy duo Cheech and Chong.
It wasn’t long before High Times got wind of 420 and started using it in the magazine, officially declaring the Waldos as the true creators of the term in 1988,
‘I started incorporating it into everything we were doing,’ High Times editor Steve Hager told the Huffington Post. ‘I started doing all these big events — the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup — and we built everything around 420.
‘The publicity that High Times gave it is what made it an international thing,’ he added. Until then, it was relatively confined to the Grateful Dead subculture. But we blew it out into an international phenomenon.’
For decades now, the term 420 has been used in festivals and events, merchandise, store names, and even roommate listings and dating profiles. And of course, April 20 — written 4/20 by Americans — became an unofficial stoner holiday.
In 2017, it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
A Met Police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘A total of ten arrests have been made, two arrested from possession of class A, one possession class B, one PWITS, one offensive weapon, one wanted missing x 4, one for possession of knife, two for affray and one for assault police.’
A man wears a shirt which has a marijuana symbol on the back during the ‘420’ rally in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon
A man is seen smoking at a park in Manchester during the 420 rally. Marijuana lovers unite for the rally every year on April 20, the date corresponding to the code name 420, and gather to demand the drug is decriminalised.
A dog sits in-between a mans leg while he rolls a joint in Manchester during the unofficial holiday dubbed 420
A man records a video while smoking what appears to be a joint during the rally in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon
The police huddle into a group after speaking to members of the public about reports of loud music at a park in Manchester
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