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Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in Breaking News, Economy, International | 10 comments

London’s Big Riots: Was the Economy to Blame?

The event: massive riots in London. Those who did the damage: thugs. The reason: some think its the increasingly bleak financial outlook. Reuters reports:

London picked itself up on Sunday from some of the worst violence seen in the British capital for years which politicians and police blamed on criminal thugs but residents attributed to local tensions and anger over rising financial hardship.

Rioters throwing petrol bombs rampaged overnight through an economically deprived district, setting police patrol cars, buildings and a double-decker bus on fire.

Police said 26 officers were injured as rioters bombarded them with missiles and bottles, looted buildings including banks, shops and council offices, and torched three patrol cars near Tottenham police station in north London.

The riots erupted after a street protest over the fatal shooting of a man by armed officers this week turned violent.

Residents said they were forced to flee their homes to escape the trouble as mounted police and riot officers on foot charged the crowd to push rioters back.

As day broke, the Metropolitan Police, which will handle next year’s London Olympic Games in what is expected to be Britain’s biggest peacetime operation, faced questions about how the trouble had been allowed to escalate.

The disturbance was only finally brought under control on Sunday after hours of sporadic clashes. Buildings were still smouldering, bricks littered the roads and burglar alarms continued to ring out.

The Guardian:

The Metropolitan police has admitted it “had not anticipated” the extreme violence that saw police attacked and buildings and vehicles set alight during sustained rioting in Tottenham, north London.

As questions were asked about the level of policing, Commander Adrian Hanstock said a peaceful vigil by the family of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, who was fatally shot by officers in the area on Thursday, had been “hijacked by mindless thugs” and that the situation had “escalated out of all proportion”.

Twenty-six police officers suffered injuries, with eight receiving hospital treatment. Two remained in hospital on Sunday. Three members of the public also required medical attention, with two taken to hospital.

Forty-two people have been arrested for offences including violent disorder, burglary and theft following the torching of buildings, two police cars and a bus, and the ransacking and looting of shops in both Tottenham and nearby Wood Green.

The violence followed a demonstration by members of the community outside Tottenham police station to demand “justice” for the family of Duggan, a father of four, who was shot after police stopped the minicab he was driving in.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the incident, which also saw a police officer shot, the bullet reportedly lodging in his police radio and leaving him with minor injuries.

Hanstock said the death was “extremely regrettable”. He said it was “absolutely tragic that someone has died, but that does not give a criminal minority the right to destroy businesses and people’s livelihoods and steal from their local community”.

“There was no indication that the protest would deteriorate into the levels of criminal and violent disorder that we saw,” he added.

The Telegraph:

26 police officers were injured in the unrest and 42 people were arrested for offences including violent disorder, burglary and theft following overnight clashes.

Mr Lammy today said the area had had its “heart ripped out” by the rioting and said there may even be fatalities in the burned out buildings, he said.

He said: “A community that was already hurting has now had its heart ripped out.

“The post office, shops, news agents, mobile phone shops, council building that deal with customer complaints, smashed to pieces by mindless, mindless people last night – many of whom are not from Tottenham and had come from afar into this community intent on causing violence.

“What happened here raised huge questions and we need answers, but the response to that is not to loot, to rob…”

The BBC:

More than 40 people have been arrested after rioting saw police attacked, buildings looted and vehicles set alight in Tottenham, north London.

Overnight, 26 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.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said: “A community that was already hurting has had its heart ripped out.”

The Metropolitan Police said two officers were still in hospital and three members of the public had been injured.

More than 40 people remain in custody for offences including violent disorder, burglary and theft.

Police said there were still “pockets of criminality” in the area on Sunday morning.

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 received 264 emergency calls late on Saturday and in the early hours of Sunday and attended 49 fires in the Tottenham area.

A spokesman said all the blazes were under control “at the moment”.

On Sunday, police were manning a cordon around the scene of the violence, while residents surveyed the damage to their community.

Labour MP Mr Lammy said: “There are homeless people standing back there.”

“This is an attack on Tottenham, on people, shopkeepers, women, children, now standing homeless.”