Socialist Worker

How the riots spread across Britain

Issue No. 2264

By Monday evening the rioting had spread outside London.

Geoff Dexter was in the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham before the riot started. He told Socialist Worker the police caused it:

“There were more police there than I’ve ever seen. They created an atmosphere of trouble and tension.

“I watched police stopping and searching black and Asian young people—I didn’t see a single white person stopped.

“At about 5.30pm police arrested a young black man who had done nothing wrong. They dragged him through the shopping centre, humiliating him in front of everyone.

“We were pushed out into the street. The police corralled about 1,000 people. Then they kettle a group of young people who started to get angry because they hadn't done anything wrong.

“Then they charged into the crowd and people started running through the city. The police had started a riot.

“There were black, white and Asian young people together, furious at the way they were being treated.”

The riot spread to other parts of Birmingham, including Handsworth, where the police station was set on fire.

In Liverpool hundreds took to the streets and there were skirmishes with police in the Leeds Chapeltown area.

Over 200 rioters clashed with police in Bristol. The running battles started in the outlying areas of St Pauls, St Werburghs and Stokes Croft before heading into the city centre. Rioters smashed the windows of the new Tesco store in Stokes Croft. The store was the scene of protests in April.

A police station in the St Ann’s area of Nottingham was also set on fire as people showed their anger at the police.

And the riots also spread to areas like Medway, Chatham, Rainham and Gillingham in Kent and Hatfield.


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