London on lockdown

2011-08-13 07:50

London - Police were out in force in London on Saturday in a bid to prevent any repeat of England's worst riots in decades, which left city neighbourhoods smouldering and five people dead.

The number of officers was more than doubled to 16 000 earlier this week, and Home Secretary Theresa May said the extra police numbers would stay on the beat until further notice amid concerns violence could flare up this weekend.

England has had three quieter days following four nights of rioting, arson and looting which led to 1 600 arrests across the country, but politicians and police were taking no chances, even as they clashed on each other's response to the crisis.

"We will be sustaining the numbers for a period of time," May said.

"We have had some quieter nights but we are not complacent about that."

Courts working through the night

The orgy of violence started in London but the trouble soon spread to other major cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham.

London's Metropolitan Police said they arrested 1 144 people, of whom 693 have been charged.
In total across England, 796 people have appeared in court, of whom 122 were under 18.

Courts have been working through the night and two-thirds of those charged have been remanded in custody.

Calls for those convicted to be stripped of their state welfare handouts and booted out of publicly-owned housing were receiving growing popular support.

The Wandsworth Council local authority in south London became the first to serve an eviction notice, on a tenant whose son has been charged. It will come into effect if he is convicted.

"For too long we've taken a too soft attitude towards people that loot and pillage their own community," Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC television.

"If you do that you should lose your right to the sort of housing that you've had at subsidised rates."

How did it get to this?

A week on from the initial flare-up of urban violence, debate is raging about how Britain has sunk to such lawlessness.

A Polish woman who was pictured leaping to safety from her burning home in the south London suburb of Croydon on Monday in one of the most striking images from the rioting, said she thought English society was "sick".

Shop assistant Monika Konczyk, 32, moved to Britain five months ago.

"I thought London was a civilised society full of gentlemen and ladies - but it's not like that. England has become a sick society," she told The Sun newspaper.

"I found myself jumping for my life after being attacked by thugs and thieves. They set fire to my building without any thought for anyone's safety.

"They were happy for me to die. They were like animals - greedy, selfish animals who thought only of themselves.

"Flames were coming up over my head. The fire was so hot I knew if I got too close it would kill me. I thought I was going to die - I thought I had lost my life."

Who’s to blame?

As fears of renewed violence remained high, a row escalated between police and politicians as both sides sought to deflect blame for the crisis.

The police have been criticised for their reluctance to crack down hard on the first riot in the north London district of Tottenham last Saturday. Critics say the cautious approach encouraged unrest to spread across the capital and then to other English cities.

But senior officers hit back in rare public attacks on political leaders, who last year introduced funding cuts to police forces across Britain as part of a wider package of austerity measures.

An online ComRes poll of 2 008 adults for The Independent newspaper, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, showed strong backing for the reversal of government cuts to police budgets (71%) and for automatic jail sentences for even the most minor of riot-related offences (78%).

Some 54% agreed that Cameron had failed to provide the necessary leadership to take control of the rioting in London early enough.

Downing Street said Cameron has asked former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton to act as a consultant to British police on how to curb street violence, drawing on his experience tackling gangs.

The English Premier League football season kicks off on Saturday, though Tottenham Hotspur's match against visitors Everton has been postponed as the local area will not be ready in time to ensure safe conditions.

  • Mveve - 2011-08-13 07:57

    RIP Broken Britain.. You went soft on discipline !.. You went soft on immigration! You went soft on crime.. Parents were told.. 'No you can't smack the kids'....Teachers were prevented from chastising kids in schools.. The police couldn't clip a troublemaker round the ear.. Kids had rights blah blah blah.. Well done Britain..You shall reap what you sow.. We have lost a whole generation

      Colin Dovey - 2011-08-13 08:24

      Somewhere in your wise words @Mveve seems to lie a lesson for us?

      BOFFINBOB - 2011-08-13 08:26

      Mveve....Summed it up perfectly. The real Brits of years gone by, will be cringing in their graves & the old age homes ! The UK today is spineless & pathetic with their leniant laws, whereby even a home invader can sue the home owner for assault !!!!!

      Logs01 - 2011-08-13 08:31

      Agreed and SA is following in its footsteps, specially with Malenama as an instigator.

      Grant - 2011-08-13 08:53

      I am laughing at all the outrageous indignation of commentators on the UK mess. While not in anyway condoning what has happened for the first time in 35 years - what about the regular services delivery strikes, the looting, burning, intimidation etc that regularly carry on. The annual wage strikes by the public sector unions. Just like charity starts at home, so should discipline and law abiding behaviour.

      tootingdel - 2011-08-13 09:01

      This sums up the situation very well. I lived in England until moving to S Africa 8years ago. The issue now is how to reverse the situation and how other countries, such as SA, learn from what has happened in England. A country where education is free to all; health care is free: and benefits generous. Even with all of that, and maybe because of that, still a number of people - and out of a population of 70m, it is still a small number want more for nothing. England needs to look at the lack of parenting, the constant materialism - the need for the latest cell phone, designer clothing etc, and the 'role models' of the youth. If football stars, pop stars and as well as greedy bankers say all that matters is money without responsibility can we expect some to follow their models? I do hope England uses this opportunity to readdress its way of doing and that other countries take note before they suffer similarly.

      tommy 2 - 2011-08-13 09:37

      @ jaimo, And for this we say thank you Britain.

      RFreeThinker - 2011-08-13 09:47

      Not sure what people are complaining about. In a post modern society there is no moral right or wrong and no-one has a basis for criticising anyone else as moral choices are subjective decisions. These guys are just releasing some anger and destroying fascist shops of the ruling class. If only these poor guys had an outlet, to vent and the government cared about them - provide them with a well paying job, a nice house, a Bentley, free access to iTunes music store to buy all the music dey want. But my brothers don't have that. Shame on Britain. LOL. Sarcasm obviously.

      Petras - 2011-08-13 11:46

      lol Mveve, Although everything you said are true, THEY are way better than us in the fact that almost 90% of everyone who did something was caught and sentenced! In this country people do much worse and walk away free.

      Hessie - 2011-08-14 11:06

      Briljantly said!!! Absolutley the TRUTH!!!!

  • - 2011-08-13 08:25

    The pictures of the riots in England bring to mind images of a war zone!!! The Japanese and all they have gone through of late comes to mind - the absolute destruction in Japan caused by NATURE! To think that the destruction in London and surrounds is caused by humans[?]....they are nothing but mindless, criminal THUGS!! I hope harsh sentences are meted out to those caught....such wanton, mindless destruction boggles the mind...

      Grant - 2011-08-13 08:45

      Lets see what the pictures of the actions of striking municipal workers look like next week. Also wait fro the reports of them looting shops. An event that happens every year not just once in 35 years as is the UK case. What about all the 'service delivery riots' that have been taking part in SA! How many of these rioters have you seen bunged into court and sentenced to jail terms within a week of the offence? Before trying to take the splinter from someone else's eye, first remove the log from your own. Not that I in anyway condone what has happened in the UK, it just happens so often in SA that we have become desensitised to it.

      RFreeThinker - 2011-08-13 08:56

      Well, I'm sure if the Touhoku earthquake like the one in Japan this year were to hit London the Londoners would pull through and forget their differences. Thankfully London lies in a safe part of the world.

      Petras - 2011-08-13 11:48

      And almost all is cleaned up again! Here it would stay messed up for years! Sh..t happend all over the world but in a place like the UK at least they can recover quickly and sort this out where in our country nothing happens! - 2011-08-13 15:52

      hey hey hey.....Im NOT condemning England {in fact Im moving there in a few weeks time - YAY!!! Cant wait]! NOWHERE in my comment did I say anything negative about the UK - I said the "mindless THUGS" that caused the riots must be charged accordingly!!!! It IRKS me as much as anyone else that, because of the mindless riots in England, suddenly SA is wonderful etc etc etc.....Im the first to say this [in fact I have already commented on how embarrassing the SA facebook comments were in the face of such destruction. The situation in SA, in my opinion, is FAR worse than the UK's worst riots in 35yrs..... xenophobia {setting foreigners alight!! and then dancing around them-taking delight in the HORROR of what they have just done!!!!], rapes, murders, non-service delivery, non-existent medical facilities for those who CANT afford medical aid, BEING AFRAID IN ONE'S OWN HOME!!!! etc etc..... THUS: @Grant, RFree Thinker and Petras....I think[?] we are 'on the same page'....

  • felican - 2011-08-13 08:31

    I hope all the little shytes get their desserts - but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and unfortunately nothing was done when it should have been...AND the responsibility of the parents for their children lacks and tolls a mournful bell. The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world is said. But spare the rod and spoil the child and havoc rules and reigns.

  • Helio - 2011-08-13 08:37

    I agree whole heartedly @Mveve. Also your message serves as caution to the rest of us that all this PC crap that we are goaded by the media into accepting is resulting in a a spineless society. There is nothing worse the cocky and rude kids, nothing cute in a kid that doesnt respect his elders.

  • Ruffstuff - 2011-08-13 09:00

    The British bulldog has lost its teeth - they themselves have sunk their Waterloo - good news for the French who themselves have had a taste of rioting.

  • Shorts1 - 2011-08-13 09:14

    Extremely glad to see that there do not appear to have been any such similar problems in any of the bigger cities in the North of England, i.e. Leeds, Newcastle & Sheffield. Perhaps most of the young kids in those parts of the country are ' brought up right & proper in the old traditional way '.

      Cheekiechops - 2011-08-13 09:52

      Given time without consequences and it would have spread, don't be fooled into thinking the kids from the North are better than anyone. You get good and bad in all societies.

  • chrisfmorris - 2011-08-13 09:22

    These are the leaders of Britain, the Neo-liberals who are leading the world to the brink.In a supposed "democracy" they see it fit to deny their own citizens the right to protest when their conditions have been denigrated by their leaders. We should not be surprised however, these same Even their own policemen have been forced into a corner, the neo-liberal doctrines of austerity and decreased social spending eating into the livelihoods of low and mid-level civil servants. Spontaneous mass-action is already a feature in South Africa and has been painted as "service delivery protest" which detracts from the key re-assertion of dignity in the face of this total onslaught. It's not a discipline problem, people are angry and the system of doesn't allow them to find relief.

      RFreeThinker - 2011-08-13 09:38

      The UK and EU are the most accessible countries to launch complaints and protests. There is also the European Court of Human Rights which will hear cases by individuals of human rights violations. There are many, many legal ways of filing complaints and numerous laws which protect people in expressing their resentment. What we have here are not downtrodden people, but people who have access to free health care, free education, free housing, free grants, freedom of association and movement yet who choose to destroy and assault others. Instead of facing up to their own inadequacies (laziness, egotism, nihilism) they prefer to loot. Now the English cops will use water cannon! Talk about big guns! It's human nature to want more, and the only way government can deliver is steal from those who've worked for it and give to those too lazy to do so. Maybe Chris you could volunteer your entire salary to these poor, downtrodden youths? You know start with yourself and maybe the world will change.

      RFreeThinker - 2011-08-13 09:40

      Chris, read some John Locke. Stop reading Marx, Communism doesn't work, look at USSR, Cuba and North Korea.

      richham - 2011-08-13 09:47

      What's the real difference between communism and democracy RfreeThinker. Me thinks that are close relatives. I think yo should try reading "Sovereign Individual" by Jame Rees Mogg, to truly understand the radical changes that we are seeing. Try understanding Modern Money Mechanics, and see who the REAL crooks are, and why democracy suits them.

      Cheekiechops - 2011-08-13 09:56

      Cant agree with you. It is a discipline problem. I wonder what you would say if it was your shop they were looting and burning and finding the relief you speak of at your expense. ""Spontaneous mass-action is already a feature in South Africa and has been painted as "service delivery protest" which detracts from the key re-assertion of dignity in the face of this total onslaught."" Huh?

      richham - 2011-08-13 10:06

      Just think, at a macro level, of how these welfare nation states operate. Firstly they get into power via a majority. They then implement welfare benefits, in SA's case I think there are over 7 million on welfare (have we just purchased 7 million votes). They then tax the contributors to death, to suffort this system they have created to stay in power. To appear legitimate, they busy themselves creating new laws and control mechaisms (RICA, FICA). The real revolution will come when, I , a large contributor to there cofers, say enough is enough, pack my bags and leave for a friendly destination, that will provide ME with the protection I am prepared to pay for. (Thats all we currently doing, paying these sods for protection, yhey no better than the mafia). When the contributors finally say enough, pack up and leave, this nation state will collapse. I am not talking communism, I am talking sovereignty. The right to do as I please, as long as I dont hurt anyone.

      chrisfmorris - 2011-08-13 19:08

      @RFreeThinker : In the article above, the British Prime Minister states that those who have been found to partake in the "protests" will have their homes taken away and forfeit their right to the wonderful freedoms you have outlined. Austerity measures will ensure that those very same "freebies", education, health and housing will be denied to the people who need it most. I haven't been reading Marx only by the way, I wouldn't feel comfortable making assumptions based on only one thinker, including your John Locke. Contemporary Social battles are definitely not based on Soviet, Cuban or North Korean models which are outdated like Locke. We need to be free of ideology. The Economist responsible for turning America around after the great-depression(John Maynard Keynes) offers greater insight into how we can fight poverty. Read the need regulate markets(not do away with them) and provide a minimum quality of life for any citizen of any country. Cheekiechops, if the above is a bit much for you then contact me and I'll see about getting you some book to read.

  • Richham - 2011-08-13 09:28

    One should always mistrust the media's interpretation, and be cautious about how you respond. I do not trust the politicians, and am of the opinion that they are already feeling the power slipping away from their nation states. This is probably another twisted plot, which will get exactly the reaction they want. They want the pathetic sheep to cry' More controls, more policeman, more legislation'. Thats exactly what the pathetic sheep do, and guess what, the nation states reign of power increases. Look for the reason behind the reason. This revolution is now in full swing, across the globe. The people will take back the power from the politicians.

      RFreeThinker - 2011-08-13 09:43

      Yes, we can have wonderful Communism, Comrade Richham. You can be the local Soviet Chief in your district, I'll be first secretary of the provincial politburo. The people will have their equality and freedom. I hear there are some gold bars we can nationalise and transfer to our own accounts.

      jabski - 2011-08-13 10:38

      uk society has been decimated by politicians and greed. the culture has been destroyed and this is just a taste of things to come. but soon it will be law abiding citizens turning the tables on the government and demanding answers. especially when 30% of them will be unemployed, due to their industries being farmed out to the east. and then their social security payments falling way behind inflation and not even providing them with means to feed themselves. and im talking about honest hard working taxpayers who have paid into the system for years. theyve been robbed of their identity, their culture, their dignity and now their futures. and the politicians who have allowed it to happen always end up working for the perpetrators in their twilight years rubbing joe publics noses in it. they know its coming which is why they allowed this to escalate like it did. new laws soon to protect the establishment in the wake of further unrest and the public will go along like the sheeple they are cant wait for the revolution!!!

      online2590 - 2011-08-13 21:41

      jeez free thinker your brain is caged. are you sure you are not a closet communist. he who shouts the loudest...

  • 106SA - 2011-08-13 09:35

    CORRECTION!!!!!In SA we have 50 deaths(murders) every day;every week;every year;year in year out!!18000 per year!!!Our service delivery protests and our "peaceful strikes",make British problems look like kindergarden stuff!!!!

      cyber_writer - 2011-08-14 01:48

      That's the point I've been trying to make, - although when I mentioned 50 murders someone told me that number is apparently 80 -89 daily murders! Then we forget the 2008 xenophobic riots which killed 62 people - as far as I'm aware of, 5 people have died as a result of the London riots. The coppers & the powers that be, are sorting it out, which is a better result than 62 dead in SA in 2008. No comparisin.

  • OHWell - 2011-08-13 09:55

    I live in London and there is no lockdown whatsoever. This is probably the worst sensationalism I have read so far to come out in the SA media. Most of what you are reading are gross exaggerations or simply not true. No shops are closed - THERE IS NO LOCKDOWN!!!

      Cheekiechops - 2011-08-13 10:05

      I cringed when I read your post.

      nowinlondon - 2011-08-13 12:19

      I completely agree with OHWell. I walked through Streatham in South London at 10pm yesterday. In a 10min walk, I saw two cops quietly walking together. Felt absolutely untreatened. Waited at the train station, on the platform just with my adult son and one other person. In SA I would never have gone near a train station at night. Here: no problem. Walked home alone at night around 11PM. All quiet!

      cyber_writer - 2011-08-14 02:09

      @nowinlondon, all I can say, is that I live in a certain city in Natal, close to the CBD, and the LAST thing I would think about doing is going walkabout on the streets at 10pm, for a number of reasons, this being South Africa with the HIGHEST murder rate in the world (in a country at "peace"). Yes, watching the riots occur as they happened on Sky news was quite something, I think everyone thought the whole of England was going up in flames....... England survived the Blitz though, in the second world war, which was way worse let's face it, so they will survive this too I have no doubt - yes, sure, the powers that be need to learn from their mistake, which I'm sure they will. Now if only the powers that be in SA, could do something bringing down our murder rate of 50 - 89 people who get murdered DAILY.........

      slg - 2011-08-14 02:19

      Colombia has a higher murder rate than South Africa. Just saying. South Africa's is still bad. This is the most damning failure of the government. Safety and security is the first basic need, and the basic duty of any government.

      cyber_writer - 2011-08-14 19:03

      @slg - I never quite know what to believe....... who exactly has the highest murder rate in the world?? I guess everyone has their own statistics. But wether we are first, second or third, we still live do have a high murder rate, - wether it's 50 people or 89 people, it IS STILL high, as you say.

  • Hessie - 2011-08-14 11:11

    Well done Britain!!!! Caught with your pants on your knees!! Now you order the police to crack down hard WHAT A JOKE!!! Britain you arrested over a 1000 people and may I ask to do what with???!! Oh yes u must remember to can not smack them you can not scream at them they have RIGHTS!!! WELL DONE!!!!!

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