As the sun rose this morning in England’s capital its rays illuminated the effects of what has been termed by Prime Minister David Cameron as 'criminality, pure and simple'. Over the last three days London has been gripped by rioting, initially erupting at a peaceful protest in light of a 29 year old man shot dead by police in Tottenham last Thursday. The protest began on Saturday and swiftly spiralled into violence, rioting and looting, prompting ‘copycat’ outbreaks of ‘thuggery’ and arson in different boroughs over the weekend.
No longer confined to Tottenham, random eruptions of rioting have occurred in Peckham, Clapham, Oxford Circus, Hackney, Woolwich, Lewisham, Ealing, and Croydon amongst others, indicating that the attacks are no longer politically motivated as there is little to connect the locations, with many referring to the situation as ‘anarchy’. Numerous buildings have been set alight in the process, destroying family homes and local businesses.
A large number of cars and buses have been torched, several rail stations have had to be closed due to damaged tracks (with a similar situation affecting tram routes) and many buildings both residential and commercial have gone up in flames. Television footage has shown blazing fires engulfing various buildings unattended by fire crews who fear for their safety as police forces are stretched to the nth degree.
There are fears that the mob mentality is spreading across the UK as comparable disorder breaks out in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, with young people in hooded tops and masks looting retail centres and setting fire to parked vehicles. It is thought social media networks Facebook and Twitter are being used by youths to organise mass gatherings, with BB Messenger also under scrutiny. Concerns have been raised regarding the message this unrest sends to the rest of the world less than one year ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.