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No major incidents so far at Western’s annual homecoming

Thousands gather for an unsanctioned Western homecoming street party, Oct. 1, 2016. London Police Service via Twitter

London, Ont., police say no major incidents have been reported so far as partiers gather around Western University for the annual homecoming, or HoCo, celebration.

In pre-pandemic years, thousands would crowd Broughdale Avenue and nearby streets. Local officials said they’re preparing for what’s expected to be a rowdy, reveller-filled weekend.

As of late Saturday afternoon, London police said they’ve closed a few nearby streets for public safety reasons and are patrolling the area.

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London police say they’re receiving assistance from Hamilton and York Regional police.

London police constable Sandasha Bough says there are “quite a few gatherings on Huron Street as well as on Broughdale (Avenue),” however, no major incidents have been reported.

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Last year’s homecoming was the first in years to be held in September, after Western reversed a 2016 decision to push back the event to October in a bid to clamp down on large parties.

Students, however, pushed back, organizing informal “fake homecoming” (FoCo) gatherings that drew thousands.

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In 2019, roughly 25,000 people filled Broughdale Avenue for FoCo parties in a day that ended with 14 arrests, 32 people hospitalized and a policing bill of more than $300,000.

In 2020, the pandemic resulted in students largely staying home, while in 2021, student gatherings were calmer than expected during the day but got rowdier up as the sun set, with bylaw officers responding to 24 noise complaints along Huron Street in the evening and overnight hours.

— With files from 980 CFPL’s Matthew Trevithick

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