Thursday, 11 August 2011

UK Riots Live Blog-Aljazeera

Follow the latest developments as riots spread to new areas of London and beyond in Britain's worst violence in decades.

Police officers detain a man in Eltham, south London August 10, 2011. [image | reuters]

Hundreds of messages of support from the community of Peckham are seen posted on a looted storefront in south London August 10, 2011.

British cities began on Wednesday to clean up shopping streets littered with debris from a night of looting by gangs of hooded youths copying the tactics of young Londoners who had rampaged through districts of the capital for three nights. [image | reuters]

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is shown the West Midlands Police events control suite by Chief Constable Chris Sims (R) and Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, in Birmingham central England August 10, 2011.

Cameron said on Wednesday "a fightback is under way" to restore law and order to Britain's streets despite rioting, looting and arson by gangs of youths spreading from London to other cities. [image | reuters]

A video posted online depicting a group of youths appearing to help a young Malaysian student who was mugged during the London riots, and then stealing the contents of his bag, has been widely circulating.

The footage is just one moment captured on video in recent days showing an ugly side to a city often considered as civilised or forward-looking.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from London.

APTN reports that Darren Hayes, the pop singer best known for his role in the group Savage Garden, says he's seen lots of tragic events like this one.

"The riots in London, it's terrifying, but unfortunately I think it's kind of an indication of the era that we live in," he said. "There's a lot of unrest and personally I lived in America during September 11 and it was terrible. And I was in London for the London bombings, so I wouldn't say it's an usual occurrence. It's just a sad fact of modern living and I hope that it ends soon."

APTN reported that Priyanka Chopra, the Indian actress and former Miss World said:

"It was, I was actually having dinner last night and my phone, I saw some 38 missed calls and I was like, 'What happened?' That usually happens when I get involved in controversy. So I was like, 'My god, not again.' And I picked up the phone and everyone's like, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' I had no idea it was happening. It's scary and more than anything, you don't associate something like that with London, you don't. London is one of the most cosmopolitans cities that I know. Yes, I understand from what I hear, the little bit that I know that blame-game is happening between the government and the people and what's happening. I guess there's always people that are going to take a side, I don't think a city like this deserves violence and it shouldn't have it. And it's tragic and I feel sad to see London burning. It does.

Al Jazeera talks to talk to Chris Cocking, a crowd psychologist. about the ongoing riots in the UK, focusing on the language and rhetoric used explaining the chaos.

Reuters reports that residents of a London housing estate have laughed at a televised plea by police for parents to call their children and help rein in the youths who looted and burned swathes of the city.

Not only were some of the parents at the riots themselves, but many of those taking part were not the hooded, teenage delinquents on which many have pinned the blame for the worst street riots Britain has seen for decades, the report said.

Three men died on Wednesday after being hit by a car during riots in the central English city of Birmingham, officials said, amid reports that they died while trying to protect their community from looters. Police said they had arrested a man and launched a murder inquiry after the incident which happened at 00:00 GMT as Britain's second biggest city suffered from another night of riots.

Paramedics said they found around 80 people at the scene after the men were hit by the car. Two of the men were pronounced dead at the scene and the third died later in hospital.The BBC reported that the men who died had just come out of a mosque and were protecting their neighbourhood during the riots.

Around 200 people from Birmingham's Asian community gathered outside the hospital where the victims were taken and that riot police were also stationed here, the BBC reported. There was no immediate confirmation of those details from police. Britain has been hit by four nights of violent rioting. London was quieter on Tuesday night but the unrest spread to other cities including Manchester in the northwest and Birmingham.

The West-Midlands police released the following statement:

Three men have died following a road collision in the Winson Green area of Birmingham which detectives are treating as murder.

The incident happened just after 1am on Wednesday August 10 in Dudley Road; three men were taken to hospital where two later died from their injuries. A third man was in a critical condition but confirmed dead at around 6.30am.

West Midlands Police have launched a murder enquiry, arrested one man in connection with the incident and recovered a vehicle nearby which will be examined by forensics experts.

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact West Midlands Police on 0345 113 5000.

It seems that Blackberry phones are playing a role in helping UK rioters communicate and coordinate - here is more on that.

Dale Millar, a witness from Gloucester, speaks to Al Jazeera.

Here are some details of the flashpoints as rioting and looting continued for the fourth night.

According to a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police at 0400 GMT, the Metropolitan Police Service has now arrested a total of 768 people in connection with violence, disorder and looting.

Since 21:00hrs on Tuesday, August 9, a total of 81 arrests have been made across London for various offences.

And so far 167 people have been charged.

For the fourth night in a row, Britain's city streets are coming under attack from rioters and looters.

There is some violence in London but nowhere to the scale of Monday. This time trouble has spread to cities in the north.

Up to 2,000 rioters stormed shops in the city of Manchester. At least 47 people have been arrested, and public transport across the city has been suspended.

In nearby Salford, a local library has been set on fire. And a gang of at least 70 rioters looted a shopping centre.

In central England, there have been 80 arrests. A crowd of around 300 youths have broken into shops in Birmingham city centre.

Elsewhere in the West Midlands, rioters have smashed shop windows and started fires in West Bromwich - and roads have been closed in Wolverhampton.

Meanwhile, a police station in Nottingham has been firebombed by between 30 to 40 youths.

To read more on this story click here.
Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher has this report from London:

Tags London

Al Jazeera speaks to author Alex Wheatle about the UK riots.

Reuters report: Youths have set fire to a retail store, smashed other shop fronts and fought police in the centre of Manchester, northwest England, police said on Tuesday, as rioting that has gripped London in recent days continued to spread across the country.

"I can confirm a shop is on fire and 200 youths that gathered in the city centre have been chased by riot police and dispersed. Seven arrests have been made so far," a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said.

The spokesman also said a building in near-by Salford, Greater Manchester, had also been set on fire by groups of youths.

Members of the public show their brushes to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, as they prepare to clean their streets in Clapham Junction, in south London, of debris following a third night of unrest in London. [AFP photo]

Reuters reports: An MP called on Tuesday BlackBerry's instant messaging service to be suspended after rioters used it to mobilise in London and other
British cities.

David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where London's worst riots for decades began on Saturday, appealed on Twitter and on BBC radio for
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to suspend BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

"This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force," he tweeted.

"BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can't access it."

AP reports: Olympic organizers have defended security planning for the London Games and pressed ahead Tuesday with a series of sports events and key meetings to prepare for hosting the world's biggest festival a year from now.



Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reporting from Hackney, London: "It is quiet and calm in Hackney, the Police approach is to create confidence.

"Police are aware that now is not the time to be complacent."

London: a class divided, describes how well-off people with lots of opportunities often live almost next door to poor people who live blighted, frustrated lives. Read Barnaby Phillips full blog here.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC] said it had carried out ballistic tests on a handgun found at the scene, thought to have been owned by Duggan, and found that the gun had not been discharged.

The UK’s Forensic Science Service is to carry out further tests on the weapon to verify this.

The IPCC's investigation had also verified that the bullet found lodged in a police officer’s radio handset was a standard issue police bullet, and that it showed signs consistent with being fired from a police gun.

Here is the full IPCC statment on the case:

The Independent Police Complaints Commission’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan is continuing today, with investigators examining statements, as well as analysing results of forensic tests and awaiting further results.

The IPCC is carrying out a full CCTV trawl of the area, as well as CCTV from buses in the area at the time. Our investigators will be examining recordings of radio transmissions from both police and London Ambulance Service, including 999 calls with a view to tracing further witnesses. We will also be examining any intelligence and surveillance material leading up to the planning of the operation.

At this stage, it has been established that at approximately 6.15pm on Thursday 4 August 2011, officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Operation Trident and SCD 11 accompanied by officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command (CO19), stopped a silver Toyota Estima people carrier minicab in Ferry Lane, close to Tottenham Hale tube station in Tottenham to carry out an arrest.

Mark Duggan was a passenger in the minicab. What happened next is subject to the independent investigation.

Two shots were fired by one CO19 firearms officer.

Paramedics from London Ambulance Service (LAS) attended along with medics from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) but Mr Duggan was pronounced dead at scene at 6.41pm.

A non-police issue handgun was recovered from the scene.

A post mortem examination concluded that Mr Duggan was killed by a single gun shot wound to the chest. He also received a second gunshot wound to his right bicep.

The IPCC commissioned tests by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) who have so far confirmed that:

The bullet lodged in the MPS radio is a “jacketed round”. This is a police issue bullet and, whilst it is still subject to DNA analysis, it is consistent with having been fired from an MPS Heckler and Koch MP5.
The firearm found at the scene was a converted BBM ‘Bruni’ self loading pistol. This is not a replica; the scientist considers it to be a firearm for the purposes of the Firearms Act and a prohibited weapon and is therefore illegal.
The handgun was found to have a “bulleted cartridge” in the magazine, which is being subject to further tests.
At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident. The FSS has told the IPCC that it may not be possible to say for certain, however further tests are being carried out in an attempt to establish this.

The officer whose radio was hit was taken to Homerton Hospital where he was examined and discharged later that night.

The minicab driver was not physically injured, but was badly shaken by what he saw. His account along with that of the officers is being examined along with the emerging forensic evidence.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “I know this is an incredibly difficult time for Mark Duggan’s family, who have made it abundantly clear that they in no way condone the violence that we have all seen on the streets of London and elsewhere over the past three nights. I am committed to ensuring they are provided with answers from the IPCC about the investigation into Mark’s death as soon as we have them, and I acknowledge their frustration that this can be a lengthy process.

“I know that much of this information has been reported in the media already, alongside much inaccurate speculation. Any concerns expressed by the wider public about a perceived lack of information from the IPCC should be considered in the context that I am only willing to share information once I have had it independently verified and once the people who are directly involved in this case – including Mr Duggan’s family and community leaders – have been fully informed.

“I also have a responsibility to balance the need to provide information, with the need to avoid adversely affecting other judicial and coronial processes. This means that it would not be appropriate for me to put all the information we receive into the public domain when we receive it. I assure you that our findings will be made public as soon as we can legally and legitimately do so

“I will continue to oversee the IPCC investigation and IPCC family liaison managers continue to be on hand to support Mr Duggan’s family while our investigators get on with establishing the facts of this case.”

IPCC confirm bullet lodged in police radio following fatal shooting of Mark Duggan consistent with being fired from police gun.

Reuters reports: France and Austria have issued travel advisories to their citizens and a Belgian lawmaker said he feared copycat violence spreading to his own country.

Reuters reports: Iran urged Britain on Tuesday to avoid using force to suppress riots that have rocked London.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the British government should "exercise restraint", avoid using violence and instead "talk to protesters and listen to their requests", the official IRNA news agency reported.

A member of Iran's parliament, Hossein Ebrahimi, told the semi-official Fars news agency that Britain should allow a delegation of human rights monitors to examine the situation.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, was heckled by a massive crowd as he was walking down the road in Clapham Junction following the riots that have gripped the nation and beyond.

London cleans up after third night of violence, Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from London.

Al Jazeera's Charlie Angela reports live from London.

Asyraf Haziq, a Malaysian student at KAPLAN, randomly attacked and robbed in Barking, London. He was on his way to get some food for Iftar. He is now in Royal London Hospital with broken jaw, and broken tooth. He is undergoing operation soon. UMNO London are now on their way to visit him.

A 26-year-old man who was shot in a car in Croydon, south of London, during disturbances this week has died, becoming the first fatality of riots sweeping Britain, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

No further details were immediately available.

Metropolitan Police has released the first of many images of suspects of violence that has affected different parts of London. You can see these here.

What sparked the London riots and what are the police doing to counter the violence? Watch Al Jazeera's Inside Story: London burning.

Tags London

Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports from Downing Street, London

UK prime minister David Cameron condemns violence and looting.

Here are details of the areas that have been affected by the riots - you can watch it here.

According to a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police, there will be 13,000 police officers on duty in London, in the next 24 hours.

"Over the last 24 hr period we have taken almost 400% more 999 calls than normal (5,400 emergency 999 calls normally compared to almost 20,800)," it said.

And here is an update from Al Jazeera's Andrew Porter

Tags London

What started as a local riot in North London over a police shooting has now become a large scale crime wave. Violence and looting has spread to major cities of Britain, with more than 500 people arrested and more than 60 charged.

Al Jazeera's Emma Hayward reports.

Tags London

Reuters reports that most of those who spoke to the news agency, agreed the violence and looting was opportunistic and spontaneous, but that didn't mean the anger and frustration wasn't real - and dangerous.

"I've not got sympathy for kids smashing up things, but people don't know what it's like if you grew up in a home without a dad around you or your parents can't get a job," said Michael, 31, an unemployed building worker.

He said local kids were being hit by the closure of local youth centres: "Stuff like that is going to affect youths. Brixton is one of the poorest communities."

Metropolitan Police has confirmed to Al Jazeera that at approximately 02:50hrs on Tuesday, August 9, a male police officer was injured by a car in Fulton Road, Brent. He has been taken to a North London hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

A second male police officer was also injured in the incident. He was taken to a North London hospital with a minor injury.

It is believed the injury occurred when police stopped some cars (not known how many) as their occupants were suspected of being involved in looting of a nearby electrical store. It is believed the driver of one of the cars drove away injuring the police officer in the process.

Three people were later stopped by police and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Metropolitan Police have confirmed to Al Jazeera:

At approximately 02:50hrs on Tuesday, August 9, a male police officer was injured by a car in Fulton Road, Brent. He has been taken to a North London hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

A second male police officer was also injured in the incident. He was taken to a North London hospital with a minor injury.

It is believed the injury occurred when police stopped some cars (not known how many) as their occupants were suspected of being involved in looting of a nearby electrical store.

It is believed the driver of one of the cars drove away injuring the police officer in the process.

Three people were later stopped by police and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

According to Reuters, one young person warned of worse to come.

"Until they've burnt down and robbed everything, they're not going to stop. This has just started, this is just proving to the police, this is minor stuff, this is just showing what they can do. And people with guns are going to come out next, start killing people," she said.

Tags Croydon

Police reports "copy-cat violence" in Bristol in the southwest and have urged people to avoid the city centre after 150 rioters went on the rampage in "volatile scenes''.

Read our news story for more detail and context.

Many of the looters came from areas of high unemployment that are also suffering from cuts in social services and said they felt alienated from society. Police and politicians said they were simply criminals.

E. Nan, a young man in a baseball cap surrounded by other youths in Hackney in east London, expresses his frustration to Reuters news agency:

It's been building up for years. All it needed was a spark. We ain't got no jobs, no money ... We heard that other people were getting things for free, so why not us?

Tags London

In this video uploaded by YouTube user ned1988 a crowd of rioters overwhelm police officers in Woolwich, London during late night clash on August 8, 2011:

Scotland Yard says 239 people have been arrested, 45 charged and one cautioned.