The police responded to reports that a large crowd had tried to force its way into the O2 Academy Brixton, one of Britain’s most popular music venues.
One woman has died and two others remained in critical condition on Saturday after suffering injuries believed to have been caused by a crush two days earlier during a packed concert at one of Britain’s leading music venues, London’s police force said.
A large crowd tried to force its way into the concert, a sold-out performance on Thursday evening by Asake, a Nigerian Afrobeats singer and songwriter, at the venue in the capital, the O2 Academy Brixton, prompting the emergency services to respond and forcing the concert to end early.
Video from the scene showed crowds surging through the venue’s main entrance as cheers and screams rang out through the throng of fans stretched out into the main road, as well as the police struggling to maintain control even as they wielded batons.
“This is so dangerous,” one person can be heard saying.
Ade Adelekan, a commander for the Metropolitan Police, the force that serves London, said that the authorities had opened an investigation and that it would be “as thorough and as forensic as necessary.”
A total of eight people were taken to the hospital after the surge, with four originally considered to be in critical condition. It was unclear on Friday whether the injuries had occurred inside or outside the venue.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Saturday that the woman who died was Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, from East London. The two women who remain in critical condition are 21 and 23, the police said, but they did not name them.
Speaking outside the Brixton police station on Friday afternoon, Chief Superintendent Wingrove said that more than 4,000 people had “attended last night.”
The show was advertised as sold out, and the venue has a capacity of nearly 5,000, according to its website. It was not clear whether the chief superintendent was referring to just people with tickets or also including those who tried to enter venue without them, and the police did not respond to questions about the matter.
Video footage and testimonies from people who said that they were at the venue on Thursday evening showed chaotic scenes.
Akin Oluwaleimu, 53, went to the concert with his 14-year-old daughter, where they encountered a “rowdy” atmosphere outside, according to the BBC, adding that he saw two women who had fainted and were carried away.
“We didn’t get inside,” he said. “When we were leaving we were told the show had been stopped.”
The episode led to the abandonment of the concert, the last of three sold-out shows at the venue by the 27-year-old Asake, whose much-anticipated debut album this year was well received in both Britain and the United States.
“My heart is with those who were injured last night,” Asake said in a statement posted on Instagram, noting that he had not heard from the O2 Academy Brixton about what had caused the disruption. He said he was sorry that the concert had been cut short. “I pray you get well soonest,” he added.
The O2 Academy Brixton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mayor Sadiq Khan of London said in a Twitter post that he was “heartbroken that this could happen to young Londoners enjoying a night out in our city.”
“I won’t rest until we have the answers their loved ones and the local community need and deserve,” he added.
During his statement outside Brixton police station on Friday, Chief Superintendent Wingrove confirmed that an incident captured on video in which a police officer was “apparently seen to push a member of the public” was under internal review. He also said that another member of the public had been arrested in connection with an assault on a police officer.
The police station in Brixton, in South London, lies only about 100 yards from the venue, and a cordon was still in place on Saturday, with the normally bustling road alongside closed to traffic.
Above the building’s entrance, a “sold out” sign was still visible, and garbage lay strewn across the street outside.
London is home to a large African community, and the Afrobeats genre has grown increasingly popular in the capital in recent years, with artists frequently selling out packed shows.