United Kingdom

Riots in capital spread to provinces


Following the shooting by police of a man on Thursday in the Tottenham area of north London there have been widespread riots over the past three or four days.

What started as a protest against the shooting ended up as rioting and looting in the area which was the epicentre of riots in 1985; the riots then were focussed on a high rise housing estate known as the Broadwater Farm Estate and resulted in the death of a policeman, PC Blakelock.

The riots over the past weekend, however, appear to have been driven in a very organised manner with the use of Twitter and text messages to concentrate youths as young as 12 into areas where businesses have been damaged and where widespread looting took place. For some time in these areas it was clear that law and order had collapsed and millions of pounds worth of damage has devastated local and national businesses.

The rioting then spread to other parts of south and east London before moving to major provincial cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol.

The political fallout of these riots could be considerable.

It took three days of rioting before London Mayor, Boris Johnson, decided to break off his holiday and return to the capital; he faces re-election next May. And Prime Minister David Cameron has also only just returned from a vacation in Italy despite the riots and turmoil in world markets which are expected to affect the UK economy.

At this time next year London will be in the middle of the 2012 Olympics.

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