We hoped tonight would be better for London. So far, it has been worse. Violence has broken out across the city, with shops being looted and businesses set on fire. Riot police are out in force.
- Croydon is in ‘complete lockdown’. West Croydon station has been shut, youths are attacking police lines. A ‘sterile zone’ has been set up between the Fox and Hounds pub and North End.
- Reports of explosions in Hackney, where tonight’s trouble started. Shops are burning. Gangs of youths (spot a pattern here?) taunting and attacking police. Reports of a journalist being beaten, his camera being stolen. Van on fire.
- “General air of panic” in Camberwell.
- Shops being looted in Peckham. Businesses on fire. Shops have been told to close, though most had worked that out long ago. Big fire. Reports of fire crews coming under attack.
- Hundreds of youths taunting police in Catford. So far, no sign of actual violence breaking out, but the scene is said to be tense.
- Gangs of youths are roaming Kilburn. About 20 arrests near Kilburn High Road.
The general consensus is that the situation across London tonight is worse that last night (Sunday) or akin to the scenes in Tottenham on Saturday. Worse still, the violence seems to be spreading from borough to borough with alarming speed. The police seem to be reacting as fast as possible, but it’s almost impossible for them to be truly effective given the general scenes of chaos. In some cases, witnesses say violence is carrying on with no police in sight. Resources are clearly stretched.
David Cameron still refuses to come back from holiday
Downing Street says David Cameron will not be cutting short his holiday in Tuscany. Completely missing the point, the prime minister’s office says he is in touch via email and phone. But he’s the prime minister and his absence pretty much sums up his attitude to this country. People are (rightly, in my opinion) suggesting that his failure to get back is going to hurt him politically. Frankly, I’m angry typing this: London burns for three nights and the prime minister refuses to cut short his holiday? That says a lot about him as a prime minister, and a lot about him as a person.
Seven Sisters also seeing trouble
It’s hard to keep up. Since starting to type this, there are reports of trouble in Seven Sisters. Cars being attacked, police said to be largely keeping away from the worst of the violence, where anger towards any sign of the police is said to be particularly strong. Reports of yet more buildings being attacked, and concern among residents that the violence is going to get worse. At least one resident has told local media that she’s concerned that there is no sign of police so far.