United Kingdom: London Burning (Videos)

Anger over the police killing of a 29-year old man in Tottenham, north London on August 4, 2011 fueled by racial tension, has spiralled into rioting and looting by youth across London and other cities in the United Kingdom.

On Twitter, the hashtag #LondonRiots is constantly being updated with new comments, links, rumours and eye-witness reports. Showing hope that the rioting will soon come to an end, the #RiotCleanup hashtag is used by citizens organizing volunteers to help clean streets and repair damage.

The violence began on Saturday, August 6 after a protest outside Tottenham police station demanding “justice” for the victim, Mark Duggan. According to the BBC's timeline, the protest began peacefully but ended with cars, buildings, and a double-decker bus on fire.

This time-lapse video by Prokopi Constantinou shows the blazing fires and rising smoke over north London on the early morning of August 7 (music by Dogtanion):

Journalist KC Wildmoon has been keeping a Storyful liveblog of events as the riots spread across London on Sunday and Monday to Enfield, Dalston, and Brixton.

This map by radio futurologist James Cridland (@JamesCridland) shows just how far the riots have spread. A full view of the map shows incidents as far away as Birmingham and Liverpool.

View London riots / UK riots: verified areas in a larger map

Citizens have doing their part to track the violence in videos, photos, and maps.

On Monday morning, Global Voices blogger Janet Gunter set up “Brixton Incident Map” using Ushahidi's Crowdmap.com tool to track riot reports in her south west London neighborhood.

At the end of the day, there were 22 reports of looting on the website and only one of “good news” when a local bakery handed out free cupcakes. Among the videos posted on the site is one by @subedited and @emmareyn that shows the looting of a T-Mobile store on Brixton Road (the main commercial street) from start to finish. Next door at H&M, looters exit with arms full of clothes.

In east London neighborhood Bethnal Green, a video shows youth smashing bottles and store front windows, as outnumbered police move towards them with raised shields.

Citizen news website Blottr.com has crowd-sourced reports and photos from across the UK.

But why?

As the destruction continues, public patience with rioters is running very low.

Echoing many comments on Twitter, @OxfordGirl says:

@OxfordGirl: There is no rioting, no protesting, no demands or slogans, this is just looting and destroying London. Heaven help us all #LondonRiots

Songwriter and MC, Casey Rain set up a Tumblr blog about Birmingham riots with photos and updates. On Monday he shared a personal comment urging people to have some compassion for rioters:

It’s easy to dismiss the rioters as “scum with nothing better to do” but there are much deeper problems here. As a young, male, ethnic minority in the inner city myself, chances are, I probably know some of these people. I can relate to the feelings of helplessness. I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful as a musician myself and been able to create my own positive future, but these kids rioting don’t see themselves having a future at all. They have been failed by society as a whole, they’ve been failed by the government cutting arts funding and closing youth centres, unemployment is rife to the point where even the ones desperately trying to seek work simply can’t find it, and the boiling point to all this (Mark Duggan events) is a situation that is VERY REAL.

The Guardian News Blog has continuous live updates. Among several Facebook groups tracking news of riots, are “London Riots 2011″ and “London Riots”.

Sylwia Presley (@PresleySylwia) and Asteris Masouras (@Asteris) helped with research and links.


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