Police battled to restore order Sunday as rioters went on the rempage in north London, torching vehicles and buildings amid widespread looting after the fatal shooting by police of a local man. Eight police officers were injured in the violence and taken to hospital. At least one has a head injury. The mayhem, which broke out in Tottenham just before sunset Saturday, followed a protest over the death of a 29-year old man during an apparent exchange of gunfire with police.
|Firefights survey the burnt-out shell of a carpet showroom on High Road in Tottenham, north London on Sunday
Lootings and arsons were reported in Brixton in the south of London on Monday night after widespread unrest in the northern areas of Tottenham and Enfield.
Police say riots in Brixton were started by youth gangs who looted and torched a number of retail stores. The looters attacked police officers and vandalized police cars in other areas of London. About 50 teenagers smashed shops at Oxford Circus in downtown London. The looters smashed everything on their way without making any demands.
Police said 26 of its officers were hurt and three members of the public needed treatment following the violence. A total of 55 arrests were made after Saturday’s riots. Scotland Yard Commander Christine Jones described the situation as “challenging with small pockets of violence, looting and disorder breaking out in a number of boroughs”. Police launched a major probe into the weekend’s violence with the participation of Scotland Yard experts who investigate murders and other serious offences.
Riots in London began after several hundred people gathered by a police station in London on Saturday to protest against the death of a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, who was shot by police as he resisted a pre-planned arrest on August 4th . Police suspect Duggan of being linked to criminal groups. Given the explosive situation in London, experts express doubts that British special services and police will be able to guarantee security in a city which is hosting the Summer Olympic Games in 2012.
The Guardian and The Times write that the recent outbreak of violence is a result of police losing credibility with the public and that it calls for law enforcement to revise and upgrade its methods.
Apparently, there is more to it than just police work. London, which is full of migrant workers, is gripped by social problems. Tottenham is one of London’s poorest neighborhoods, with the highest level of unemployment and a fairly high crime rate. Young people in this neighborhood have few options to receive education. 90% of those who took part in Tottenham riots were dark-skinned migrants from former British colonies.
The recent riots testify to the failure of the British government’s social and migration policies in recent years. Prime Minister David Cameron said in February that the so-called “multiculturalism” policy in the UK has suffered a fiasco because millions of migrants, mostly from Islamic countries, had failed to integrate into the British society. Mr.Cameron had this to say as he addressed the Munich Conference on Security:
“We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them.”
David Cameron underscored that Islam and Islamic extremism stood separately. While no one will question that, it’s clear that the British society is facing an inter-ethnic crisis and that the authorities have to take effective measures to resolve it. Otherwise, the recent riots will look insignificant compared to an inter-ethnic and inter-religious crisis that might break out on a national scale.