In August 2011 serious disturbances broke out, initially in London – but then across the country, including in Bristol – after the police killed young black father Mark Duggan in Tottenham on 4th August.
The police initially appeared overwhelmed. Mainstream media hysteria mounted and one of many allegations made was that the distrubances were organised, co-ordinated, or just copycats by young (mainly black) criminals. The Tory/LibDem Coalition Govt appeared to panic, as Ministers on holidays rushed home to take charge.
As disturbances subsided, the criminal justice system, led by then DPP Keir Starmer, ran Courts 24/7 dispensing harsh ‘justice’. Later numerous reports & recommendations were produced. The killing of Duggan remained controversial, as usual no police oficer was found culpable nor charged (see this youtube film, in English ). Many believed Duggan’s family, including his children, got no justice at all.
10 years on, most of the underlying drivers of the riots – inequality, lack of opportunities/services, police racism & brutality, structural racism etc – have not gone away, and on the 10th anniversary many have been predicting that future similar riots are entirely predictable.
So this BBC2 doc tonight will be interesting viewing. Being the Beeb it will no doubt claim to be ‘balanced’! They say:
2011 saw the largest wave of disorder in the UK since the 1980s. This revelatory film hears from the people who experienced the riots up close and personal. A decade on, we look back at the summer of 2011 through the eyes of those whose lives have never been the same since.
In a series of candid interviews, we hear the story from all angles. Convicted rioters, frontline police, a judge, a government advisor and a grieving father look back at that week in August, and the years that followed, to piece together what really happened and why.
Well we’ll all be the judge of that! Will politicians be taken to task we wonder???
There are many articles right now circulating, here’s two worth a read:
BLM UK article – ‘10 years on from the London riots – how much has police violence changed in Britain?‘
Academic article – ‘The London riots ten years on: how a crackdown on protest became their main legacy‘
If you miss the programme tonight at 9pm, it’ll be on iplayer afterwards.
Let the debates continue…but we need action too!