Irshadgul News report,
Western University’s homecoming celebrations began early Saturday, as hordes of students blocked traffic and police from several courts were preparing for a long night.
Emergency teams were on the scene as an estimated 20,000 youth dressed in school colors fled homes on Richmond Street and other streets in the university neighborhood. Police had to close several blocks of Richmond from Cheapside to Windermere around 5 p.m.
The road was reopened several hours later after dozens of police took students from the main north-south artery to side streets.
“We have officers not only from London, Ontario, but the York area, as well as Hamilton. So we are able to ensure public safety here on the road, but throughout the City of London,” said the constable of the London Police Service. Sandsha buff.
Boff said no major incident had been reported as of early Saturday. Police had set up gates on some side streets in an effort to keep the crowd on Brodell Avenue, Huron Street and other non-arterial roadways.
Homecoming celebrations in the past years have seen large parties, resulting in injuries, considerable damage to homes and property, and fees. The problem of street partying began in 2016 when the university introduced a traditional homecoming from September to October, in the hope that cold weather and exam festivities would curtail the festivities.
However, students continued to party over the September weekend and gave the festival its name: FoCo or “Fake Homecoming.” Western has since restored the original Homecoming dates.
This year, without any COVID restrictions, some students on Saturday said that they want to make this year memorable.
I hope this gets pretty crazy because I’m really trying to see what a brudel looks like.– Kusai Gariev, Western student
“It sucks how COVID ruined two years of our lives and as a result, we’re all partying,” said Western student Kusai Garev. “I hope it gets pretty crazy because I’m really trying to see what Brudel looks like at night without any COVID regulations.”
Garive said he appreciated the police presence, a sentiment echoed by the other students in attendance.
Veronica Charles said, “It’s a very crazy day, so things sometimes get out of hand. So it’s nice to have some people who can make the law work.”
The students are expected to continue partying into the night, and police said they were on standby, ready to adapt to changing situations.
Some London residents expressed their displeasure online in response to reports prompting the expansion and closure of parties on main streets. Some took to social media and asked why traffic disruptions resulting from ghar wapsi celebrations seem to be an annual issue.
In past years, health care workers have found themselves overwhelmed by the merry-goers, and again warned students to avoid injury. Paramedics had responded to some emergencies by late Saturday afternoon.
“So far we have four people who have been evaluated by paramedics and all four have been taken to hospital with minor injuries or medical issues,” said Miranda Bothwell, Middlesex-London EMS public education coordinator.
Officials say figures such as injury count, damage estimates and number of tickets awarded will not be available until early next week.