For a third day, rioting continued in London, spreading from poorer sections of the city to at least eight new districts, including the more upscale sections of Notting Hill and Camden. Riots also occurred in other cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.The riots have raised questions about whether austerity measures, especially deep cuts to social programs, approved by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government can be sustained. Under the measures, 30 billion pounds ($46 billion) are to be cut each year to reduce Britain’s 11 percent deficit to 2.1 by 2015.
Cameron cut short his family holiday in Tuscany and returned home to Britain on Monday night to attend a Cobra meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May and Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin on Tuesday. Cobra standing for “cabinet office briefing room A” — a room used for crisis meetings.
Police have arrested at least 334 and charged 69 in the rioting, says the BBC. An extra 1,700 police officers were sent throughout London, with more brought in from other parts of the country. There are reports that “gangs of hooded young people” have been using social media tools including Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry instant messaging to communicate with each other, says the New York Times.
The rioting began on Saturday night in the Tottenham district at a peaceful protest outside a police station following the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, who was shot by police last week. Duggan lived in the Broadwater Farms housing project where, in 1985, similar unrest occurred mostly among black youths clashing with police. The Guardian reports that, on Monday, Deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said that London’s Metropolitan police could have kept Duggan’s family better informed after he was shot last Thursday. Duggan’s death is now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The scope of the violence takes one’s breath away and makes one wonder, what happened that things have gotten to this point?
Residents of two areas, Clapham Junction and Croydon, have been told to evacuate their homes, says the Telegraph. Shop windows have been broken and cars are on fire. People are described as pushing away shopping carts full of electronic devices and sneakers. Supermarkets and stores selling phones, clothes, a Body Shop, an H & M, are being looted; it is thought that many of the goods will be resold as soon as possible on the black market. A business belonging to Trevor Reeves’ family for five generations has been “completely trashed” as was a florist owned by a local family. Fires are reported in neighborhoods and at a sofa factory in Croydon, a Sony warehouse in, Enfield, a shopping center in Woolwich New Road, a timber yard in East Ham. In Birmingham, a police station was set on fire. Journalists described being beaten and having their phones stolen.
Photo by Alan Stanton
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.