Saturday, 13 August 2011

London riots.

I know I'm a few days late with the commentary on this, but I've had a friend to stay this week. The poor girl had no idea how to cope with what we dealt with on Monday, she'd never been to London before and it was very much like, "welcome to London, mind the burning car".

Not sure where this was taken, but two other Police cars were torched in Woolwich too.

Monday was obviously the worst night and it truly was terrifying. Another friend we were having dinner with lives on that road in Tottenham you saw on the news on Saturday, the one they looted to the point of there being nothing left. But actually, it was safer to stay there than it was to come back to Woolwich. Not that we could have gotten back if we had tried, it kicked off so badly in Woolwich that they cancelled all the trains and buses so the decision was made for us but clearly that part of Wood Green was the place to be - there was nothing left to loot so there was very little trouble. We did get evacuated out of Morrisons at 6pm when a very large group of people started to decend down the High Road (I don't think any of us have ever walked so fast), but other than that it was fairly peaceful.

Coming back here on Tuesday was a shock, Woolwich looked like it had been bombed. Stepping off the train and being met by the smell of burning is scary to say the least and it was at that point we felt we couldn't stay alone that night without the boyfriend there. And in fact, we were pretty much ready to all go back to Plymouth after we walked down Plumstead High Street to find two blokes trading the two biggest knives you have ever seen in broad daylight, clear as anything... that is how scary London has been this week. It's either been full of riots and burning buildings, or drug addicts and various other crimes happening in broad daylight because everyone knows the police are after one lot of people and one lot only. Only in London could they put 16,000 police officers on the streets and it make the city a scarier place.

The post-riot commentary on various news channels is now driving me insane. Did you know that as a child raised in a single-parent family, I therefore have no respect and enjoy a bit of recreational looting? Oh, and I also own a Blackberry which obviously means I use BBM to arrange riots. And to top all that off, I also use twitter! Who knew I was such a dastardly criminal. For goodness sake...

The one thing I think these riots have proved, however, is that as much as most people in London don't know the names of their neighbours, never say hello to anyone they don't know (even in shops, did you know it's weird to talk to shopkeepers here?) and generally have a reputation for being unfriendly, actually, Londoners are far from it. Despite what the media said, I spent most of Monday night watching twitter and 98% of the #londonriots tweets were messages of support, prayers to keep people safe and people passing on information to keep people safe - not to encourage rioting, but to keep people safe. Then, for every one rioter who was out on Monday night, there were probably 50 people out the next morning with brooms, bin bags and some good old-fashioned elbow grease ready to clear up the streets. Life continued the next day, we spent the day on the Southbank and although as 5pm drew near it was evident everyone was nervous and twitchy, otherwise people were defiant and lead a pretty normal day. Londoners are actually pretty brilliant and everyone went from being scared to being pretty flipping proud to be here.

A boarded up shop in Peckham with messages of support. Image from the BBC here.

Have a look through the pictures if you're interested:
Riots on Monday:;
Some pretty scary before-and-after shots:;
Other parts of the country:;
The clear-up -

Let's hope this never happens again. Heal well, London.


a girl with a smile said...

That is scary. Praying for London.

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