London Riots

Summer riots. Were they a spectacle or were they in opposition to the spectacle ? devise and script a two-hander discussion presenting the arguments for and against both positions

London riots in summer 2011 began on 6th August 2011, after a protest in Tottenham following the death of Mark Duggan who was shot dead by a police officer. Protesters wanted justice for the death of Mark Duggan however the protest soon turned violent as protesters began violent clashes with the police. This quickly gained media attention and overnight looting took place and first started in Tottenham Hale retail park in North London. The rioting and looting quickly spread to other parts in London including Lewisham, Woolwich, Hackney, Ealing, Brixton and Walthamstow. From the 8th of August 2011 rioting and looting also took place in other cities in England including Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

It is clearly obvious that the people arrested and involved in the Summer Riots where not protesting for the death of Mark Duggan. Over 3,100 people had been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 had been charged.

For most people this want an opportunity to loot and have the freedom of breaking into shops since people around them where looting and getting away with it rather than having to pay full price for the items they stole.  It wasn’t a the community gathering together for a good cause but to run down shops.

It also seemed people where using the riots as an opportunity to destroy their community through criminal behaviour it has been reported that cars, homes and shops were set on fire and damaged. At least 100 homes were attacked intentionally and maliciously it has been estimated the damages made during the riots will cost millions of pounds.

Most of the rioters were using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to post status about what they were doing and pictures of the stolen goods they had taken.  Police forces and investigators used these websites to identify the looters and solve the cases of vandalism.

According to the BBC Online article titled “England rioters ‘poorer, younger, less educated’”

  • 3% of those arrested overall were gang members but in London the figure was 19%
  • Three-quarters of all those who appeared in court had a previous conviction or caution. For adults the figure was 80% and for juveniles it was 62%
  • One in eight of all the crimes committed in the riots were muggings, claiming 664 victims

Half of the recorded crimes were for offences such as stealing and looting this shows the fact that most of what we saw was motivated by opportunity and greed rather than justice.

However Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott said placing the blame on gangs showed “just how little the government really knows about inner-city areas”. The government needs to address why many of these youngsters feel as though they have no stake in society. For many people who were rioting, that week was a rejection of the future that was laid out for them.”


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