Page last updated at 00:28 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 01:28 UK

American Apparel sale closed in London after scuffles


Police said they had no advance notice of the event

Up to 10 police officers were injured after scuffles broke out when 2,000 people descended on London's Brick Lane for a sale by a US clothing chain.

The Met Police said it was called to the American Apparel event, the first day of a planned four-day sale, because of the unexpected turnout.

The firm stopped the event, blaming the "dangerous behaviour" of people in the line, but plan to open on Saturday.

A police spokesman said three people were arrested on public order offences.

He said officers were called to the scene at 1015 BST on Friday because of the large crowd.

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He said: "The organisers were unable to ensure the safety of the public and decided to close the event.

"Police had not been notified in advance of the numbers expected to attend. The organisers were spoken to by police."

He said the 10 police officers had minor injuries.

The sale had been advertised on social networking websites with offers of items starting from £1 and 85% discounts.

'Get there early'

The company had said it had hired more than 22,000 sq ft (2,044 sq m) of space especially for the sale.

It had urged customers to "get there early" and said more than 50,000 people had come to similar sales in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, San Diego, Miami, Berlin and Austin.

In a statement, American Apparel apologised and said Friday's response to the Rummage Sale event in London was "overwhelming and humbling".

"They didn't appear to have organised it very well on the first day and I'm not planning to go again"
Alex Dowle

"Some unfortunate and downright dangerous behaviour in the queue prompted the police to temporarily close the event down until they could ensure security for everyone involved.

"In our many rummage sales, we've never witnessed anything like it and are disappointed and sorry that it happened.

"Fortunately we were able to work out an urgent arrangement for extra security that will allow us to continue to run the rummage sale as planned this weekend and Monday."

Alex Dowle, 18, was among those in the crowd. He told the BBC News website that he had heard about the event online and decided to visit with some friends.

He said lines had already built up by the time he got there at about 1045 BST.

He said: "I walked there from Liverpool Street station and it looked like everyone was on a pilgrimage to the site.

"When we got there there wasn't any violence - just a lot of people queuing for miles. It was moving slowly and then a couple of guys seems to just dash for the door but the police moved them away. It was calm again after that.

"I think people were just disappointed as I don't think anybody got in at all.

"They didn't appear to have organised it very well on the first day and I'm not planning to go again."

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