While London was ablaze last night so was Twitter with #londonriots, not that any of it was worth reading, mostly knee jerk reactions saying, we need the army on the streets, oh I’m ashamed to be from the UK, if the police can’t handle this what about the Olympics, bring out the water cannons, use rubber bullets as it worked in Northern Ireland, where are the police, they’re not doing anything, they’re letting this happen etc
In situations like this there’s not much the Police can do except try to contain the rioters, or monitor them the best they can, gather evidence and act when this has all subsided. This is about damage limitation, but their role first and foremost is to protect the public, engaging with the looters would be a Pyrrhic Victory, it would escalate the situation,becoming violent, there would be increased casualties on both sides, and injury to innocent bystanders and homeowners would increase… looting and property damage is an acceptable cost. Thankfully no one has died yet, there’s been casualties, an elderly man is in critical condition due to head injuries, but that appears to have been the worst of it so far. The Police are in a difficult situation, damned if they do, damned if they don’t… the public and the media are all over them for not doing enough, but once they act, they are scrutinised for their every action they take… I know they’re not exactly squeaky clean themselves, but it won’t be long before we hear reports of people saying they were wrongly accosted by the Police, or roughly handled… well it’s quite simple, go home, if you’re not in the middle of it, then you can’t be there to be wrongly accused!
This isn’t a political gathering or demonstration, these are opportunists, knowing they can get away with theft as the Police are stretched too thinly across London (according to eye witnesses, there were only 4-5 Police Officers in Riot gear in Ealing to start with, the same for Clapham, the rest were simply in ordinary uniforms). The outbreaks in other major cities around the country support this. This isn’t racially motivated, nor is it just a disillusioned young society, or limited to disadvantaged or poorer areas of London (as there were riots in my part of London last night, Ealing).
There are growing reports from eye witnesses that the mobs are very well organised, all communicating via mobiles, but that they’re not as young as initial reports make out, amongst the thick of it there appear to be a good mix of older generation, whom appear to be orchestrating sways of the mob… this is organised crime by opportunists.
How much longer will this continue? Probably a couple more days, why? due to incredible Police strategies? nope… because it will rain tomorrow night, and not even mindless looters want to get their newly acquired 42″ Plasma screen wet!
Below is a video of a woman, whom is obviously fed up and ashamed of the looters, (thankfully there is a transcript). But I doubt it would have made any difference, these are mindless thugs, looking for trouble, the type that are in it for themselves and will grab whatever they can. Whether the graffiti on the wall behind her was written by them, or was there prior to the riot, either way it shows the writers level of literacy (or lack of)… or is there a campaign against people from the Cameroon that I’m unaware of?
“This is a fucking realtiy. Allow out burning peoples property. Allow out burning peoples shops that they work so hard to start thier business. Do you understand? That lady is trying to make her busines work and you lot wana go and burn it up? For what? To say your war-ing and your bad man? This is about a man who got shot in Tottenham. This anit about having fun on the road and burning up the place. Get it real black people. Get real. Do it for a cause. If your fighting for a cause then fight for a fucking cause. You lot piss me the fuck off! I’m shamed to be a Hackney person. Because we are not all gathering together and fighting for a cause. We are running out of Footlocker and theifin shoes. Dirty thiefs ya know. Tut ”
Thanks to Alice for posting this video on her Facebook page
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UPDATE: Some videos of Ealing Riot
By Kris Thompson Kris has added a very informative Tumblr post in response to his video
This is worth a read 5 points About the London Riots by Kenan Malik