London’s looted as police tell us to stay indoors

Tonight as I write this, London is under siege. I can hear helicopters humming above my terrace flat and police sirens wailing.

Damage is widespread throughout Brixton

I’ve just returned from Brixton where the streets were eerily quiet. I was the only one heading on the bus into the area and cop riot vans raced past me, looking for where the incidents are.

Not a soul on the bus

The problem is – the riots are everywhere. What started in north London, from the shooting of one man (whether innocent or not is still unknown for certain) in Tottenham, has now spread to the south, Croydon. Along the way riots have started. The violence is everywhere now – from Hackney to Deptford; Oxford Circus to Islington. Police are warning us on the news that we should stay indoors.

When I got into Brixton, police were scattered out the front of shops that had been looted. There was little activity going on but the atmosphere was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The few people I passed were skittish, unsure whether they should be there.

Looters smashed into this phone store

I saw a woman, about my age, walking quickly past me carrying a bin bag, speaking on the phone in a panicked voice. It was only after a moment I realised she had a backpack and a big handbag in tow too. Shortly after, a man ran across the road dragging two suitcases, casting nervous glances over his shoulder. Then I realised – people were fleeing with their belongings.

Topshop and Morleys boarded up

I walked down the street and saw Topshop boarded up in an attempt to stop hooligans breaking in. Other shops weren’t so lucky. Across the road H&M had had its windows smashed, mannequins lying on the floor, arms broken and flung to the opposite sides of the shop. Dresses had been ripped from the hangers and clothes’ racks pushed over.

H&M

H&M

The Footlocker had been burnt, all three floors, and the alarm was repeatedly sounding. Although the fire was out, the area was still cordoned off as smashed glass scattered the footpath. Three policemen stood out the front, guarding it from further looting. I met some residents who were worried about the people who lived above the shop.

Mobile phone shop

McDonalds

Electronics store

I was surprised to see a mother, her two kids alongside her, racing excitedly up the street screaming into her phone about what was going on.

The mood was dark and few people were coming out of the tube station. As I headed back on the bus – the 109 that leads to Croydon, which is ablaze at this moment – I couldn’t help but notice the four men who got on behind me. I say ‘men’ but really they were probably only about 16. They seemed twitchy and were talking amongst themselves in low voices about getting to Croydon. I couldn’t help but feel that London is being over run by youths, who are no more than this age.

 

Riot van

As the tension builds tonight, the same question keeps arising on all the news channels – ‘How did we let the young people in this
country get to this point?’

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