Saturday night, hundreds of protesters rioted in the streets of London, lighting two patrol cars on fire days after a man was shot and killed by police. Rioters hurled petrol bombs, bottles, and bricks at officers who were on foot and on horseback. Nearly 400 people protested outside the Tottenham police station.
Mark Duggan, 29, was shot after he apparently fired at police. He was travelling in a minicab and gunned down earlier in the week. It was later found that a bullet had been lodged in a police radio. Duggan had been a father of four. A police officer had also been shot in the Thursday shooting.
The rioters set a double-decker bus and building on fire, while crowds of people claimed justice for Duggan. Shop windows on the high road were kicked in and goods stolen as the shops were looted. Several people were seen carting trolleys of stolen items from the scene.
Officers closed the High Road early, but violent protesters began fighting back just after 8:30 PM. The group had walked to just outside the police station from the infamous Broadwater Farm estate, which in 1985 saw similar protests and riots, where a policeman, PC Keith Blakelock had been hacked to death. Memories of those Tottenham riots were rampant with the occurrence of these. The police station was just ten minutes away from the White Hart Lane ground of the Tottenham Hotspurs.
Around 12 fire engines eventually managed to get close enough to the fires to begin fighting them, but damage was already done. As night had fallen, two police cars had been set on fire, just 200 yards from the station.
Twenty-six officers and three other people were hurt in the violence. Cash machines were also ripped out.
Protesters claimed they were getting justice for Duggan and his family. One woman, 53, who gave her name only as “Nikki” claimed to be a family friend and said that the protests were organized by friends and relatives of Duggan. The family has released a statement saying that they did not condone the violence. His brother, Shaun Hall, said, “”Please don’t make this about my brother’s life, he was a good man.” The family protest appears to have been a separate, peaceful protest.
Parts of Tottenham are still cordoned off and residents describe the area as a battlefield. The Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into the riots, questioning 55 people who were arrested during the trouble. Met Commander Adrian Hanstock requested information from anyone who had any, saying, “The disorder and violence we saw last night was pure criminality and cannot be justified. We are determined to arrest those responsible.”
He also advised the public not to believe rumors on social network sites, which speculated more riots and other problems might occur in future. Rachel Cerfontyne, commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is investigating the death of Mr. Duggan and claimed that Thursday held misinformation about the death, maintaining that he had not been executed “assassination style”. She said, “”The distress that Mr Duggan’s family are in the midst of is understandable, but the violence and disorder we have witnessed over the last 24 hours can never be acceptable.”