Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London riots: Dozens injured after Tottenham violence

BBC August 7, 2011

More than 40 people have been arrested after rioting saw police attacked,

buildings looted and vehicles set alight in Tottenham, north London.

Twenty-six officers and three others were hurt in the violence which
erupted after a protest over the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan
on Thursday.

Residents surveyed the damage after homes were looted and shops burnt down.

The Metropolitan Police warned over "ill-informed speculation" on social
networking sites of further problems.

All injured officers have now left hospital, the force said.

The BBC's Andy Moore reports from behind police lines after a BBC
satellite truck came under attack from youths throwing missiles

The people arrested remain in custody for offences including violent
disorder, burglary and theft.

Meanwhile, the family of Mr Duggan said they were "not condoning" the
violence that erupted.

"Please don't make this about my brother's life, he was a good man," his
brother Shaun Hall said.

BBC crime reporter Ben Ando said there were rumours in the community that
a teenage girl who was part of the peaceful protest had been in a kind of
confrontation with police.

He said: "That appears to be the flashpoint. That was the moment at around
about just after eight o'clock when it seemed that elements in the crowd
decided to pick on two police cars. They were then set on fire."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating Thursday's

A police officer was also shot in the incident, which happened in what was
called a "pre-planned" event, under Operation Trident, which investigates
gun crime in the African and Caribbean communities.

Police had stopped a minicab which Mr Duggan had been travelling in.

Met Commander Adrian Hanstock warned people not to believe rumours.

He said: "Throughout the day we have been monitoring social networking
sites and I'd like to say right from the outset, we're conscious of some
really ill-informed speculation on those sites relating to potential
further problems."

On Saturday night, shops and homes were raided and cash machines ripped
out in Tottenham. There were also thefts from shops in nearby Wood Green.

London Fire Brigade said it had attended 49 fires in the area.

Some smoking buildings were still being dampened on Sunday, while
residents surveyed the damage from behind a police cordon.

During the riot, which erupted at about 20:20 BST, people threw petrol
bombs, reducing many buildings and vehicles to charred wrecks.

A double-decker bus, two police cars and a carpet shop were among the
vehicles and buildings destroyed.

Crowds of looters smashed shop windows in a retail park near Tottenham
Hale tube station.

The front window of Currys electrical store was smashed and the door of
Argos was shattered after looters raided the stock room.

Every handset was stolen from a mobile phone store.

* Home Secretary Theresa May condemned the violence saying: "Such
disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated and the
Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order."
* Labour MP for the area David Lammy said the community which "was
already hurting has had its heart ripped out". He added: "This is an
attack on Tottenham, on people, shopkeepers, women, children, now
standing homeless."
* A Downing Street spokesman called the rioting "utterly unacceptable".

* London's deputy mayor Kit Malthouse said: "It's absolutely
outrageous to see it on the streets of London. We'll do as much as we
can to ensure there's no recurrence tonight."
* An 18-year-old man, who did not want to give his name, said: "Police
know what they should have done, they should have come to speak to the
community themselves. They don't care."
* The Reverend Nims Obunge, Pastor at the Freedom's Ark Church, in
Tottenham, said: "It is right that this community should have
questions they have answered. Until those questions are answered I
don't think we can effectively rebuild the community."

Teenagers and adults were said to have turned up in cars to Tottenham's
retail park and filled their boots with stolen items, unimpeded by police.

Others arrived on foot and piled shopping trolleys high with looted
electronic goods, a local woman, who did not want to be named, said.

Another local resident told the BBC that looting had continued beyond
daybreak on Sunday.

Meanwhile, shops including Vision Express, the Body Shop and Boots, in
nearby Wood Green's High Street were also raided. Two cars there were also
burnt out.

The BBC's Andy Moore said that since riots in 1985, relations between the
local community and police had been generally good, but last week's
shooting of Mr Duggan raised tensions.

A friend of Mr Duggan, who gave her name as Niki, 53, said those who had
joined Saturday's protest, which began with a march from Broadwater Farm
area, wanted "justice for the family".

London police appeal for calm after riots, looting

LONDON (AP) — British authorities appealed for calm Sunday, a day after
rioting, looting and multiple fires tore through a deprived area of north
London, with police monitoring social network sites to prevent a repeat of
the violence.

A peaceful protest against a fatal police shooting of a 29-year-old man in
London's Tottenham area degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with
rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing
a shopping mall in the nearby Wood Green district.

Several buildings were also set ablaze. TV footage showed the
double-decker bus in a fireball and mounted police charging through the
streets trying to restore order. Police said 26 officers received
injuries, most if not all apparently minor, and made 48 arrests.

London's fire department said it dealt with 49 "primary" fires in
Tottenham. No firefighters were injured.

Social networking websites swirled with rumors of other riots beginning or
being planned in other areas of the city, but police warned the public not
to trust everything they saw on the Internet — adding that officers were
keeping a close eye on what was being said online as well.

"Officers from Tottenham are on the streets and will remain there, working
alongside the community to restore calm to the area," police commander
Adrian Hanstock said. "Should we have any indication of further violence
or other offending, we have a policing plan in place and will respond

The violence has cast a pall over a city preparing to host the 2012
Olympic Games.

"I hope people will have a fantastic Olympics no matter what happened last
night," London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a telephone interview with BBC
television, trying to assure the world his city was safe.

Others weren't so sure, suggesting that the riots had exposed incipient
tensions at a time of sharp public sector cutbacks and economic

"This is just a glimpse into the abyss," former Metropolitan Police
Commander John O'Connor told Sky News television. "Someone's pulled the
clock back and you can look and see what's beneath the surface. And what
with the Olympic Games coming up, this doesn't bode very well for London."

The protest against the death of Mark Duggan, a father of four who was
gunned down in disputed circumstances Thursday, was initially peaceful.
But it got ugly as between 300 and 500 people gathered around Tottenham's
police station. Some protesters filled bottles with gasoline to throw at
police lines, others confronted officers with makeshift weapons —
including baseball bats and bars — and attempted to storm the station.

Within hours, police in riot gear and on horseback were clashing with
hundreds of rioters, fires were raging out of control, and looters combed
the area. One video posted to the Guardian newspaper's website showed
looting even carried on into the following day, with people even lining up
to steal from one store just after dawn.

The devastated area smoldered Sunday — in Tottenham, streets were littered
with bricks and lined with overturned scorched trash cans. Two police
helicopters hovered over the burnt-out buildings as residents inspected
the damage and firefighters doused the last of the flames. Glaziers were
busy replacing the smashed windows of looted shops.

Very few details of Duggan's death have been released, although police
said initially that an officer was briefly hospitalized after the shooting
— suggesting there was some kind of an exchange of fire. Media reports
said a bullet had been found lodged in the officer's police radio.

Duggan's family rejected any suggestion that he had fired at officers. His
brother, Shaun Hall, said his sibling would never attack police.

"That's ridiculous," he told Sky News television. As for the rioting, he
condemned it.

"There was a domino effect, which we don't condone at all," he said.

Local lawmaker David Lammy, speaking to residents from behind police tape
earlier in the day, said that Duggan's shooting "raised huge questions and
we need answers," but he warned against renewed violence.

"The response to that is not to loot and rob," he said. "This must stop."

Tottenham has a history of unrest. It was the site of the 1985 Broadwater
Farm riots, a series of clashes that led to the savaging stabbing of a
police officer and the wounding of nearly 60 others — brutally
underscoring tensions between London's police and the capital's black

Relations have improved since, but mistrust still lingers.


Juergen Baetz and Jill Lawless contributed to this report.

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