London Riots Spread to More Cities on 3rd Day


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.

In the Guardian, Alexandra Topping writes that experts have said that “social exclusion” is the reason for the riots:

“Many of the people involved are likely to have been from low-income, high-unemployment estates, and many, if not most, do not have much of a legitimate future,” said criminologist and youth culture expert Professor John Pitts.

Unlike most people, some of those looting had no stake in conformity, he said. “Those things that normally constrain people are not there. Much of this was opportunism but in the middle of it there is a social question to be asked about young people with nothing to lose.”

Home Secretary Theresa May, who also cut short her vacation, said that social deprivation was “no defense”:

“There is no excuse for violence, no excuse for looting, no excuse for thuggery, and those who are responsible must know that they will be brought to justice. I think this is about sheer criminality.”

But says the New York Times, the riots have raised

…new questions about the political sustainability of the Cameron government’s spending cuts, particularly the deep cutbacks in social programs. These have hit the country’s poor especially hard, including large numbers of the minority youths who have been at the forefront of the unrest.

Among the programs cut are funding for individuals with disabilities and at least half a million public sector jobs are to be eliminated. Fees at universities have also been drastically raised and last year saw huge protests of students who also clashed with police though not with the level of violence going on for the past few days.

Further headaches lie ahead for Cameron and his government. London is scheduled to be the site of the 2012 Olympics; $15 billion in new stadiums and an athletes’ village are to be located just miles from where the riots started in Tottenham.

In the wake of the violence, Metropolitan Police also face questions about their ability to secure the Olympics. The police have come under heavy fire for their response to the riots, with accusations of not acting quickly enough to stop them and of letting the looting go on while they focused on stopping more violence elsewhere. The police had already faced criticism for “mishandling” protests about the austerity cuts last winter and are still reeling from the phone hacking scandal, which has led to charges that officers took bribes from journalists and to the resignation of commissioner Sir Paul Stephens and of assistant commissioner John Yates.

For more Care2 coverage on the London riots, click here.

Related Care2 Coverage

More Riots Break Out in London: Were These Planned?

Dozens Injured After Violence and Looting in London

Student Protests in UK as Tuition Fees Rise



Photo by Alan Stanton


Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

For those of you who don't have a clue, they out-source and off-shore in Europe too. Funny how all the industrial nations are sliding into third world status. The only limit in wages will be the lowest third world income in the lowest third world country.

It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Cutting spending on, so called, entitlements is ineffective for addressing the deficit. Cutting programs that support the low and middle class will further strain both who don’t even receive lower prices as a result of the U.S. job losses and create a disconnect that will end in another financial collapse. The justification for attacking government benefits as opposed to raising taxes is the creation of jobs. But where?

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should fall on their swords. It is the underlying cause of the financial collapse and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. Yet, this nation does nothing, not even demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the UN-AMERICAN activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire in the U.S., and as an end result, destroying the U.S. marketplace while still demanding BUSINESS ENTITLEMENTS and protections for themselves.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not replace enough jobs to keep up with the hemorrhaging loss of U.S. jobs from out-sourcing over seas. Neither party will do anything about it unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs. If nothing is done we will deserve what we get and it will get a lot worse before it gets better

Raymond  Cornes
Ray C6 years ago

Helena P,

the Police use CCTV which are on every street in some streets you may about 8 CCTV in one street, and in the shops in London and other Cities in the UK, the Police know who the loooters are who started the fires and the Riot, my concern in all this had there been a terror attack at the same the UK would not be to deal with it, this what sometimes these thugs should understand

I believe the PM is from next month bring in a New Adviser from the US, Chief Bratton, further to this the Government is reviewing all the Law as the Punishment is a joke

Helena Plum Bowyer
Helena B6 years ago

We live in a society where consumerism and celebrity are celebrated.
When we had demonstations against tuition fees the police penned up marchers and treated young people like criminals. Now when people riot and destroy property and loot the police stand by and let it happen. All of a sudden within days hundreds are arrested, put through the courts on mass with no degrees of involvement considered. Now, I have to ask as someone who has been a victim of crime in London with little help from the police, how the hell have they found all theses people so soon? OK, there are the idiots who have posted themselves with the loot, but what about the others? I am puzzled and worried (didn't Face book just treat all photos to face recognition technology?) as to how this was achieved.
Also the first thing the politicians want to do is reduce freedoms from us all, social media etc. The very things we critisise in countries like China and Syria. I feel a stitch up.

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

FRANK D., Margaret Thatcher never encouraged a life of sloth and boredom -- her plan was to develop an economic prowess for Britain, and her policies worked! The rioters have no legitimate defense for what they've done. Upon conviction, each of them that draws on government benefits should be permanently banned from receiving any further money. Let them work, let them leave, or let them starve -- but don't let them further victimize!

Margaret Paddock
M A Paddock6 years ago

This is a most realistic take on the rioters:

Carol Fyfewilson

Demonstration is one thing but rioting and destruction of property is quite something else.
The former warrants positive response while the latter is purely destructive not of just property but of the Cause.

Frank D.
F Duffy6 years ago

The british government is now reaping what it has sowed since the time of Margret Thatcher, british people have become more isolated from the politics of the UK. They feel that the government has no relevence to them. Add to that that the majority of those looting and setting fires were young and mostly male most proberly fron broken homes where the british legal system has removed the fathers from the childrens lives, so the gap is filled by the gangs and their is no male role model in their lives. Other countries should take note. the future is to be seen in London.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Raymond  Cornes
Ray C6 years ago

comment 2 of 2
The looters maybe given between 2 and 400 hours community services, this is what I don't like about the British legal system,

there was a Large amount of people protesting that were not causing any problems, the problems that people face is like (Tony Blair's Wife) said a few years ago, ( them leaving school today haven't an hope in hell of getting a job)
a few years ago the tax payer in Britian Bailed the Banks out, once the Banks started to make Profit, they did not repay the Tax Payer, indeed they give themselves Big Bonuses, this I think you would agree is Rubbing salt in the wound and not acceptable. this may have also add to the problems, there is two sides to every matter, however, two wrongs don't make a Right.