London’s Burning: Mindless Mayhem

Tue, 09 Aug 2011 13:08 in News Digest
Dialogue Society News Digest

Multiple regions in London were attacked over the weekend and yesterday by rioters who violated property and burnt down buildings. Stores have been looted; cars torched and shop windows smashed into. The protests are thought by some to be in response to the “unjust” killing of Mark Duggan, 29, a father of four shot dead by a police officer last Thursday in Tottenham, North London. It has been reported that Mr Duggan was armed at the time of shooting but the sequence of events leading to his death remain unclear. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation to further inquire into the shooting.

Affected currently areas include Tottenham, Enfield, Edmonton, Hackney, Dalston, Walthamstow, Chingford, Islington, Clapton, Croydon, Brixton, Lewisham, Shepherd’s Bush, Peckham, Woolwich, Elephant and Castle, Ealing and has now also spread further north to Birmingham.

Press Perspectives

The Guardian – Monday 8th August 2011

Doubts emerge over fatal shooting that sparked rioting and looting

There has been reservations and unrest over the killing of Mark Duggan and the precise sequence of events before his death. The Guardian has reported that the results of a ballistics test on a bullet found lodged in a police radio which was worn by a police officer on the night of the incident, suggested that the bullet had not been fired by Duggan and was a police issue.

The latest developments suggest that Mark Duggan’s weapon was found in a sock and therefore not ready for use. If clear evidence proving that Duggan did not attempt to attack when the police opened fire is revealed, this will further intensify the heat and provide more ammunition to the already angered Londoners.

The upheaval which continued through Saturday night saw 300 rioters in Tottenham clashing with police forces where several people were injured including 26 officers, eight of which that were hospitalised.

Sky – Tuesday 9th August 2011

Riots: PM Cuts Short Holiday To Return To UK

Prime Minister, David Cameron has cut his holiday in Tuscany short to return to London on the morning of the third consecutive day of the chaotic London riots and will later today chair a meeting with Government’s emergency committee Cobra.

The Conservative Party leader will meet Home Secretary Theresa May, and acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner to discuss the escalating disruption made across the Capital.

Theresa May, who also returned from holiday early due to the unexpected upheaval has described the London riots as “sheer criminality” and vowed that justice will be made. She praised the officers for sacrificing their own protection for the well-being of the public and insisted that there is no excuse for “looting and thuggery”.

MP David Lammy and Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg visited Tottenham, North London, where the rioting first commenced. Clegg described the violence as “needless and opportunist”.

The Daily Telegraph – Tuesday 9th August 2011

London riots: Croydon residents leap from burning buildings as capital burns

The Daily Telegraph has revealed images of locals in Croydon forced to jump out of their windows as their neighbourhood burned on the third consecutive night of the Capital’s catastrophic riots. Residents trapped in flats on top of burning shops were coaxed into jumping into the arms of fire fighters waiting to rescue them below.

Mobs of balaclava-clad yobs continued to set fire to shops and indiscriminately wreck lives and livelihoods of business owners. Reeves, the owner of a family run furniture store that has stood for nearly 150 years was one of the victims of the arson attacks. As the business went up in flames, the store’s owner Trevor Reeves said: “It’s just completely destroyed. Words fail me. It's just gone, it's five generations. My father is distraught. It's just mindless thuggery."

Key Players

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pressed that the events of Sunday night had nothing to do with the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot by a police officer last Thursday. He said: "It is completely unacceptable and the people who have suffered are those who have lost their businesses, shopkeepers who have lost their shops, families who have lost their homes and many people who felt very frightened in their own neighbourhoods."

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has reversed his plans to continue his holiday and will return to London later this afternoon. In a statement the Mayor described the chaotic scenes of violence as “utterly appalling”.

"People have lost their homes, businesses and livelihoods through mindless violence," he said.

"I understand the need for urgent answers into the shooting incident that resulted in the death of a young local man, and I've sought reassurances that the IPCC are doing exactly that.

"But let's be clear - these acts of sheer criminality across London are nothing to do with this incident and must stop now."

Moving Forward

With the number of affected regions escalating and the severity of violated property leading to damaged lives increasing by the hour, locals and residents wait in fear and hope for an end to the chaotic outbreak. Extra police officers have been deployed to deal with the clashes which have penetrated through the Capital as the public use social media websites such as Twitter to share their prayers through the hash tag #PrayforLondon

Today will see the arrival of Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson and there is hope that the criminal behaviour will be brought to justice. Scotland Yard Commissioner Tim Godwin has called on the public to clear the streets so that they can focus on dealing with the thuggery and has also asked for families to locate the where abouts of their children.

As the Dialogue Society we would like to offer our deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by these terrible events and extend our well wishes to the injured and wish them a speedy recovery.