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Petition to save London concert venue Brixton Academy reaches 50,000 signatures

Brixton Academy in 2005
Brixton Academy in 2005 Copyright YUI MOK/AP
Copyright YUI MOK/AP
By Jonny Walfisz
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A petition to save the O2 Academy Brixton from permanent closure has reached over 50,000 signatures after fatal crowd crush.

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The south London venue O2 Brixton Academy had its licence suspended after two people died during a concert crush at the venue in December last year.

The petition was set up after London’s Metropolitan Police Force said it was seeking for the licence to be revoked.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both died due to injuries sustained when hundreds more people than legal capacity attempted to attend a concert by Afro-pop star Asake. A further eight people were treated by the London Ambulance Service at the scene.

Following the incident, questions were raised about understaffed security and medical teams, fake ticket touts operating in the area, and the safety features of the venue itself. Academy Music Group (AMG), which runs Brixton Academy, voluntarily closed the venue before Lambeth council suspended its licence for three months.

Met Police
Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby HutchinsonMet Police

AMG told the BBC they had “co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred”.

“We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely,” they added. “AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms.”

The petition, which asks for changes to be made to ensure there isn’t a repeat of the tragedy while allowing the venue to re-open has reached over 50,000 signatures on Change.org.

“What happened there was a tragedy, but caused by people. People without tickets, security taking back handers etc,” writes petition starter Stuart O'Brien.

“Revoke the security firm's licence and bring in someone adequate recommended by the police (security having been alleged to take back-handers to allow people into gigs, surely lies at the heart of those without tickets attending). Bring in new security procedures including crowd control to ensure a repeat doesn't happen, but let's not turn this venue into soulless flats as would more than likely happen in the event of permanent closure,” he continues.

Primal Scream bassist retweeted the news, adding: “Brixton Academy is such an important and historic venue for south London and live music. There is a police station literally opposite, surely with new management / infrastructure + security it can be improved ? instead of just shutting it down?”

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