Socialist Worker

Reports from the urban revolt spreading across Britain

Issue No. 2264

The rising against Tory Britain continued last night, Tuesday.

Rioting spread from London to several other cities – including Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Leicester and Gloucester.

One police station in Nottingham was firebombed and another was attacked with rocks. There were riots for a second night in the Toxteth and Birkenhead areas of Merseyside and in Birmingham.

People rioting at a young offenders’ institution in Bristol started fires. The Ashfield young offenders’ prison has 400 inmates under the age of 18.

London was quieter than on previous evenings. The 16,000 cops drafted in from all around the country on the street arrested 81 people.

Meanwhile the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced yesterday that there is no evidence that Mark Duggan fired a weapon before police killed him last Thursday.

The IPCC said a firearms officer fired two bullets, and that a bullet that lodged in a police radio was “consistent with being fired from a police gun”.

Questions still remain over the shooting and the investigation (See How police killed Mark Duggan)

Socialist Workers Party members in Manchester report that most of those rioting last night were school students and teenagers. Numbers swelled from 600 up to 2,000 as anger and despair drove many onto the streets to join the city centre riots.

People biked or walked into the city centre from some of Manchester's poorest areas – the buses were cancelled.

Earlier this year Tory communities secretary Eric Pickles told the people of Manchester to “get over it” when they peacefully protested against the cuts. Riots and looting were the reply to Pickles’ insults. People vented their rage on mobile phone shops and the Arndale shopping centre.

Peter was in Piccadilly Gardens. He said, “The killing of Mark Duggan is the latest example of police racism. It is institutionalised. We do not trust the police. We will not cooperate with the police.”

The same sentiment was emphasised by Ahmed who said, “I have been stopped and searched many times. I've been to my friends, and was only trying to get home.”

Young people in Manchester live in a city that has just closed its entire youth service. Earlier this year anti-cuts campaigners launched a high profile letter, warning council leaders that cuts would “create conditions similar to those seen in this city in the early 1980s under the Thatcher government”.

Hundreds of people, including leading trade unionists and academics, signed it.

Manchester last saw riots in the Moss Side area. Yesterday the rioters hit the city centre, where millions of pounds have been spent refurbishing shopping areas.

In contrast council estates have been neglected for decades.

In Salford, a riot erupted in the local precinct. The Salford Star newspaper said, “This was more of a party than an angry riot as youngsters handed old people packets of cigs, and tins of Carlsberg freshly liberated from LIDL.”

The Clarendon area, which has the highest child poverty in Salford, is about 200 yards away from the LIDL. A shocking 75 percent of children live in poverty there.

The police shooting of Mark Duggan sparked the unrest. Yet that hasn’t stopped the right calling for more draconian laws and clampdowns. The Tory MEP Roger Helmer who demanded, “Time to get tough. Bring in the Army. Shoot looters and arsonists on sight” is one of the most rabid examples.

No doubt there will be more of this on Thursday, as parliament is recalled. But happily the MPs who have had to cancel their holidays won’t lose out on any loot – their expenses claims have been passed already.


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