Damon interviews Peter Manarchy, a self-proclaimed former Brains Kan member, regarding the events that took place on the cold night of March 28, 2004 in Norwich, United Kingdom.

Damon: “What was your role in Brains Kan, any specific rolls?”

Peter: “Unfortunately I wasn’t at the birth of Brains Kan, I was young and living up north at that time. It was a couple of years later after the birth [of Brains Kan] in 2001. I was taken to my first Brains Kan free party by my brother in-law in an attempt to take me away from the trouble I was getting in, and it worked the first time. By the summer of 2002 I was lifting speakers, clearing up rubbish and became a known face. And as you can imagine it went from there. I’d love to go into details about certain experiences but it’s something that I‘m going to have leave to the imagination haha…”

Damon: “When was the date (if you can remember) of the 2004 industrial estate riot/free party?”

Peter: “March 28th,2004.”

Damon: “Was the building abandoned or used, and was it subsequently damaged. If damaged, what or who by?”

Peter: “The warehouse was unused and unlocked so it was squatted under Section 6 which was a legal procedure. It was slightly damaged due to police but I’ll explain that below.”

Damon: “Lastly, what was your own personal and honest take of the events of that night. What happened, step by step?”

Peter) “So it’s March the 28th 2004, and a member of the community spotted that a warehouse was empty and open on the industrial estate, and a decision was made to use it as a gathering for people to unite through music and dance shoulder to shoulder to celebrate life with no profit being made from the dance. It was the main and only reason these gatherings ever happened. It was a place for anyone to go no matter what colour, race or wealth. A place where people felt safe and in harmony with each other. As always the community gathered at midnight and the music was turned on. Everything was fine all night, not a bit of trouble from any one, and if there was any trouble it was quickly resolved without any hassle, and that’s how it always was.
Eventually, the sun would rise and everyone had massive smiles on their faces as the music continued. But it wasn’t long before the police started to make a real presence. Riot vans, police cars, dog units etc etc were growing in numbers. At some point (I can’t really remember specific times, but it was nearer to midday than anything), a line of riot police armed with batons, CS spray and dogs started to march down the road in formation. So a number of known faces had a chat and decided to close the doors and shutters of the squatted building for the safety of everyone and so we could carry on celebrating life without getting beaten up.
But the police come with force and obviously didn’t leave it there. They tried to illegally force entrance to the building for a good few hours, and were not giving up. They were smashing through doors and self-made barriers which obviously got blamed on the ravers. So eventually we knew they were not going to leave us alone and everyone decided to put the speakers on the floor in a circle and do a sit down peaceful protest against the police’s illegal actions. Once that was arranged, the shutters of the warehouse were opened and the police came in. Initially they were gobsmacked – we were just sitting on the floor and speaking peacefully. One member of the community decided to speak out, they explained we were not doing anything wrong, and that the police should be out catching real criminals rather than hassling people for dancing. You could see on their faces they knew we were right, but they were given orders to remove us, and they did, brutally. They used thuggish violent tactics which include beating young girls up, the miss-use of CS gas and at times allowed their dogs bite.

Now you have to really set the scene in your head. We were completely passive and peaceful, and they were thugs, it’s as simple as that.”

I’d like to thank Peter for giving him us his personal take upon what happen that night. Much love to you all and may the truth bring clarity and progress x

Damon Shaw

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