Brawling teenagers marred the first of the Broadstairs firework display nights last night (July 17).
Witnesses report multiple police cars and two vans attending the scene at Viking Bay after fights broke out between a large number of youths, both male and female.
Onlookers, many who had taken their children to enjoy the event, reported teens throwing bottles, fighting police and chasing other youngsters through the high street as well as at least three separate mass brawls.
— Present Company (@PresentCompany) July 17, 2019
Police reportedly used pepper spray on at least one occasion.
Witness John Paul said: “It was disgusting and what makes it worse are the people that play it down. The mentality of some of the youths around here is becoming a huge problem, i have an 18 year old who I have raised with respect and manners but it’s my three- year-old I worry for. It is such a pity that beautiful Thanet is becoming like Beirut.”
A similar incident on a smaller scale took place at a firework display night in 2017 when police were called in.
Many witnesses praised the quick response of officers but have questioned whether extra security needs to be implemented for event nights.
The event is organised by community group Broadstairs Fireworks Events (Broadstairs Summer Fireworks Committee) and sponsored by Broadstairs Town Council with help from local businesses and money from the public put in donation buckets.
A spokesman for Broadstairs Summer Fireworks Committee said if more security and a paid police presence is required the event may have to be axed.
They said: “We are consulting with the police as to what security measures will be required to ensure that everyone can safely enjoy these popular family traditional evenings.
“It is such a shame that once again in our society generally that completely unacceptable alcohol fuelled behaviour by a minority of out of control mindless yobs is jeopardising the enjoyment of the majority of people. We are a small voluntary group that puts these events on with the financial support of Broadstairs & St Peters Town Council and local business sponsors.
” If the police recommend that we need a high level of security and paid police presence it is very unlikely that we will be able to fund the requirements and sadly we would have to make the disappointing and sad decision to cancel the planned summer displays .
“On a positive note the area around the bandstand , Victoria Gardens and promenade were trouble free and the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by families that turned out to enjoy the music , entertainment, and spectacular fireworks. We will make an announcement as soon as we are able to.”
A town council spokesperson said: “The anti-social behaviour did not prevent the firework display taking place. The majority of people attending enjoyed a very successful event.”
Kent Police has been asked for further details.