Londoners' Last Underground Hurrah

Saturday night marked the last night of drunken revelry for Londoners used to drinking on the city's underground subway system, know as the "tube," on their way to and from parties.

A ban on drinking alcohol for passengers aboard London's underground public transport system went into effect June 1.

To mark their last hurrah on the tube, thousands of revellers turned up to party underground on Saturday night.

But the party turned rather ugly in the end, as police had to close six London Underground stations because of reported assaults and damage to the trains, according to Reuters.

Police arrested 17 people, and six assaults on underground rail staff and police were reported. Several damaged trains had to be withdrawn from service on a night of mayhem that had been dubbed "Last Round on the Underground" by revellers.

The festivities were at first good-natured, with partygoers wearing fancy attire and swigging beer and wine as they danced and sang in the railway carriages.

But police moved in when the mood turned sour and fighting erupted, spoiling what officers had called "a fun event."

The London transport ban on alcohol is designed to make buses, tubes and trains safer for the public, but unions fear staff could be put in greater danger when they have to confront those breaking the ban.

The ban was a key manifesto pledge of new London Mayor Boris Johnson's election campaign, and just days after his victory over Ken Livingstone he announced plans to enact the measure.

"I'm determined to improve the safety and security of public transport in London and create a better environment for the millions of Londoners who rely on it," Johnson said.

"I firmly believe that if we drive out so-called minor crime then we will be able to get a firm grip on more serious crime."

The ban will apply to buses, underground trains, trams and stations.

Reuters contributed to the reporting of this story.

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