09 Aug 2011
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tottenham police station, peacefully calling for “justice” for Mark Duggan, a man killed by officers three days prior.
Police stood in formation, separating the community members from the station they were guarding, until a 16-year-old woman reportedly approached an officer to find out what was going on.
According to a witness account, some officers pushed the young woman and drew their batons.
“And that’s when the people started to retaliate. Now I think in all circumstances, having seen that, most people retaliate,” said the witness.
The “retaliation”, from peaceful chants of “justice” in front of the police station, have since turned into massive groups of Londoners in numerous parts of the city who seem unafraid of breaking windows, looting stores, and burning buildings, doubtless causing millions of pounds’ worth of damage.
Scores of businesses have been looted and international media continue to play images of smoldering buildings, in areas where firefighters were reportedly too afraid to enter – for their own safety.
According to witnesses and overhead helicopter footage, police have not been able to control much of the situation, and have repeatedly been forced into retreat by angry rioters.
“The kids realise the police can’t keep control of it,” said Bristly Pioneer, a Hackney resident and activist with the Space Hijackers, an anarchist collective focused on reclaiming public space. “And the kids don’t give a f*** because no one gives a f*** about them.”
“These kids have basically been abandoned – not even just the kids, whole communities have been abandoned by the rest of society,” he added. “I can’t say I’m surprised this is happening. It’s been building for years.”
Klara, an activist with Occupied London, a group focused on responding to the European austerity crisis, and another resident of Hackney, asked that her last name not be used. She told Al Jazeera: “It’s a bubble of anger and anxiety and oppression that has to be burst.”
“When you talk to people in the streets, they’re extremely politically articulate. They know the problems in their community,” she said.
Continue reading at: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/08/2011891555226219.html