English riots update


This video from London, England is called SHOCKING Footage: BBC Presenter Attacks Black Veteran Over London Riots – Aug 09 2011.

Before we have an update about the riots in England today, from last year, from the Conservative Daily Mail, from a high level policeman:

Public sector cutbacks could lead to riots, says police chief

From British daily The Morning Star:

Bullets won’t solve anything
Tuesday 09 August 2011

For all the sense that David Cameron spoke following the Cobra emergency committee meeting, he might as well have stayed in his luxury Tuscan villa.

Cameron tried hard to appear big and butch, warning people what his even harder mates in the police would do to them.

He accepted no responsibility for the conditions that gave rise to the riot epidemic and showed no understanding of why some people do it.

It is difficult to imagine a more wooden and meaningless formulation than his punchline, “This is criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and defeated.”

So the logical response must be to swamp problem areas with police, arrest more people, bang them up, throw away the key and, hey presto, job done.

The Prime Minister had plenty of advice from the usual law-and-order lobby for whom a major problem is misplaced concern for people’s human rights.

Put the army on the streets, wheel out the water cannon and plastic bullets and let the police get stuck into rioters without fear of consequences, they chorus.

It’s so simple and, of course, it worked so well in Northern Ireland, didn’t it?

Police in Britain could have had water cannon and plastic bullets at their disposal during past disturbances, but their overwhelming judgement was that they would cause more problems than they solve.

If the government really is considering deployment of plastic rounds in response to the current situation, this would be a retrograde step.

Those authorised to use them are given strict firing instructions, but things don’t always go to plan in the heat of the moment.

How long after their introduction will it be before a youngster dies as a result of a plastic bullet direct strike on the head?

Cameron warned young people involved in these riots that they would “feel the full force of the law,” hinting at custodial punishments.

The PM must know that the prison population is at an all-time high, placing additional pressure on overstretched prison officers who face privatisation of their service and attacks on their pay and conditions.

Similar problems confront those at the sharp end of the riots – police officers and firefighters, who are targeted by the government’s cuts agenda.

Cameron completed his speech without mentioning these false economies or the plethora of cuts imposed on young people, from funding for youth clubs, sports facilities, educational maintenance allowance, housing benefit and much else besides.

Add to that the fact that half of black youth aged 16-24 is unemployed and the wonder is not that riots have broken out but that they didn’t occur earlier.

It is meaningless complaining that many teenagers show no respect without appreciating the reality that they too are often treated without respect.

People with a job, a home and a future don’t riot.

Government should be investing in such an outcome rather than in overseas wars, nuclear weapons and tax breaks for big business and the rich.

If people feel excluded from society, there is no value in criticising them for anti-social attitudes.

Homes and businesses must be protected, which means that police have to have resources to contain violent outbreaks.

However, there must also be government investment for jobs, services and benefits to deliver a society at peace with itself rather than sharply divided into haves and have-nots.

It was true in the ’80s and it’s true now that aggressive and racist policing leads to civil unrest, argues Ann Czernik.

Top police officer warns against use of plastic bullets on rioters: here.

The inquest into the fatal shooting by police of Tottenham man Mark Duggan heard today that he was killed by a single shot to the chest: here.

Probe shows “no evidence” the man who was fatally shot in UK in incident that sparked riots had opened fire at officers: here.

White racist violence in London: here.

Violence ‘has exposed Britain’s broken society’: here.

A Hackney woman watched online by almost a million nationwide after she was videoed denouncing the riots spoke exclusively to the Morning Star on Monday following her speech: here.

With media sources blaming “anarchy” for the unfolding violence in London and across England, the North London Solidarity Federation has released the following statement as a response from an anarchist organisation active in the capital: here.

Creepy: The Far-Right [EDL] Group That Inspired the Oslo Bomber Says It Will Stop London Riots: here.

4 thoughts on “English riots update

  1. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/201189105816840954.html

    Panic on the streets of London
    Speculations circle as to why the London riots have become so big, but the answer is quite obvious.
    Laurie Pennie Last Modified: 09 Aug 2011 16:26

    – – – – – – – –
    “Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. . . . There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.”
    – – – – – – – –

    The politics of a burning building may be obscured even to those who lit the rags – but the politics are there [EPA]

    I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight.

    This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home.

    Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

    Obvious denouncement

    In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder “mindless, mindless”. Nick Clegg denounced it as “needless, opportunistic theft and violence”. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge – declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was “utterly unacceptable”.

    The violence on the streets is being dismissed as “pure criminality”, as the work of a “violent minority”, as “opportunism”. This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

    Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station.

    A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

    Speculation

    Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985.

    Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of not seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news.

    In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

    “Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?

    Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night, a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

    Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere.

    There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

    Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

    Power

    Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out. Structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables.

    People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

    No one expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

    I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country.

    This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market crash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

    Laurie Penny is a 24-year-old author and blogger from London, who writes for New Statesman, The Guardian and others. This work, originally posted to her award-winning blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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