Riots in London, Tottenham

August 8, 2011

Saturday night was the night of “London’s worst riots in a generation”. The media reported: “violence developed from a peaceful demonstration outside Tottenham police station to protest at the Met’s shooting of a local man, Mark Duggan. One of the participants, of the Peace Alliance, said that the local community was “crying out for justice”. and other participant said the community was angry with what he called Duggan’s ‘murder ‘. Duggan, 29, was killed on Thursday after police stopped the minicab he was traveling in. A family friend of Duggan said the man’s friends and relatives had organized the protest because “something has to be done” and the marchers wanted “justice for the family”. “We arrived at 5pm, we had planned a one-hour silent protest. We were there until 9pm. Police were absolutely culpable. It is unforgivable that police refused dialogue“, the protesters said. Patrol cars, a double-decker bus and shops were set alight after a crowd of more than 300 people clashed with officers near Tottenham police station. Missiles, including Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rocks and fire extinguishers, were thrown at the police station. The riot began at about 8.30 the previous evening. But more than nine hours later, at 5.30am, there was still little or no police presence there “. Unfortunately, almost all British mass media’s reports about the riot, are from the Police’s viewpoint or the state viewpoint, and it’s not acceptable at all.


The media added: “Tottenham is one of the poorest areas of London, where as many as 50 per cent of children live in poverty . The last riot to occur in the area was back in 1985, after a woman, Cynthia Jarrett, suffered heart failure during a police raid on her home. Mark Duggan had just turned four when the Broadwater Farm riots erupted on the streets of Tottenham. In 1985, on the Broadwater Farm estate, it saw the most serious anti-police riot in modern times. Cynthia Jarrett’s death has never been satisfactorily explained. “I call them niggers myself,” said one Met officer, to the authors of Police and People in London, a 1983 report by the Policy Studies Institute. The world has changed dramatically between 1985 and now. Then, the force’s racism was unashamed and routine. Now, a single racist remark can end an officer’s career. Then, the Met had 180 ethnic minority officers. Now, it has about 3,000. In the third quarter of 1985, Broadwater Farm alone had 875 burglaries. In the same quarter of 2010, there were little more than 30. Tottenham’s unemployment rate is just over half what it was in 1985. But Tottenham’s unemployment is still among the highest in London. Black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched by the Met than whites. The black victims of crime are noticeably less satisfied with the Met’s service”


“More than 100 people who demanded to see a senior officer at Tottenham police station feared that if they were still there by nightfall it could cause problems in an area with tensions running high. “I told the chief inspector personally that we wanted to leave before nightfall. If he kept us hanging around after nightfall, it was going to be on his head. We couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t get out of control ,” said Stafford Scott, a community organizer, who accompanied the family of the shot man, Mark Duggan. We know the history here – how can Tottenham have a guy killed by police on Thursday, and resist requests for dialogue from the community 48 hours later?” he added. Duggan’s fiancee, Semone Wilson, 29, said the family had not wanted trouble, only answers. “When we were outside the police station last night we wanted someone to come out. We want some answers. I have not even told my children that he is dead because we cannot give them any answers.” The people wanted answers but they did not get it”, the media added


“Duggan’s fiancee, Wilson, met Duggan when she was 17, and the couple have three children. A fourth child, a daughter, was stillborn. As he was driven in a minicab Duggan spoke to his fiancee to say he was on his way home, asking if she would cook dinner. Fifteen minutes before he was killed, he texted her to say he was being followed by the “Feds.” What happened next is not clear. Stafford Scott, a community leader who was outside the police station, said: “We do not believe that Mark was bad enough or mad enough to come out of a car and want to shoot at armed police officers . Our information is that the gun found there was found in a sock, meaning it wasn’t prepared for action.” Duggan’s case needs serious investigation”, the media reported. The British media has focused only on the mob and the looters, and ignored the main reason of the protest, “the marchers wanted “justice for Duggan’s family”. There is a very serious question: “Why a small, peaceful demonstration against the killing of a man in north London turned violent and hundreds of rioters broke windows, set fire to cars and looted local shops?”


Police reported Sunday evening that they made 55 arrests, while London’s fire department said it dealt with 49 fires in Tottenham. Police said: “The majority of arrests were for burglary. Other offences included violent disorder, robbery, theft and handling stolen goods.”, But the police don’t say why they did not give a proper answer to the crowd, mostly consisting of friends and family, who had gathered Saturday outside the Tottenham Police Station to protest the killing of Mark Duggan. Police say Duggan shot at a police officer, who returned fire. But Duggan’s family and friends reject this matter. A local lawmaker, who addressed residents from behind police lines, denied that Saturday night’s protest marked the undoing of community-police relations. But he was met with yells of, “When are we going to get justice? We need justice man,” from a man in the crowd.