Socialist Worker

The other side of the story of the British riots

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2346

Riots Reframed is about the people and politics behind the riots in Britain in 2011.

It was made in the face of David Cameron’s insistence that the riots were mere criminality.

The riots were sparked after police shot an unarmed black man, Mark Duggan, in north London.

Fahim Alam directed the documentary. He was arrested on the second day of the London riots.

Fahim was pushed through the special “fast track justice” put in place to deal with suspected rioters.

He was held in a police station for 48 hours before being remanded in prison for six weeks after a 3am court hearing.

Finally he was bailed with an electronic tag until his trial.

Represented by campaigning lawyer Imran Khan, known for working with Stephen Lawrence’s family, Fahim pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at his trial. It took the jury just 30 minutes to find him not guilty.

Riots Reframed tells the story of the riots through the people who were on the streets.

Alongside Imran Khan and author Paul Gilroy, Fahim talked to ordinary people in London about their experiences of the police, racism and poverty.

As Zena Edwards said, “usually they implode and attack each other. That day they exploded at the things they feel oppressed by.”

The political message is clear. Criminalisation of young, black people, unemployment and the violence at the heart of the system were the causes of those riots.

One man interviewed on the street said of the police, “You get stopped, you get stopped, you get stopped, hundreds of times.”

The frustration and anger in London’s inner city areas bristles through the film.

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Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:04 GMT
Issue No. 2346
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