London riots: Fight there on Mare Street

looting at the jewellery store on Mare Street

Rioting is continuing in Hackney after hundreds of people ripped through shops, attacked buses and took on Met police earlier in the day.

Mare Street, the main road connecting Hackney to the City was at the centre of the disturbance, seeing windows put in at several of the larger stores including JD, the local opticians and an attempt at Ladbrokes. The local jewellers was also picked out for looting.

Further out, bins had been turned over and set on fire to form makeshift barricades on the corner of Pembury Road and Downs Park Road in an attempt to hold off police vans, while the Morning Lane Tescos was targeted through a side door by around 100 people.

Police efforts initially concentrated on taking control of the area around Hackney central station, running up to Dalston Lane and down to Well Street. As the situation came under control there, they gradually filtered officers out to deal with disturbances elsewhere in the borough.

Updates to follow.

Impressions

I walked around most of the line to try and survey what was going on. Contrary to media reports, black people were not over-represented through the rioting in Hackney - among the masked people there were hands and foreheads of every colour. What was also notable was the atmosphere. Two or three streets away from the fighting there were few problems, people walked casually and kids were still out.

Fear was not pervasive - on the contrary, as I walked into the area many of the people walking out were grinning broadly, talking animatedly about what was going on. Those who weren't again contrary to police reports, were more likely to be bemused than scared - I ran into several people just in front of the police lines who had no idea what was happening. And some of the faces involved are people I recognise, if only to walk past - it certainly isn't the case that "people from outside the borough" are to blame.

But some residents nearby have seen their homes burned, been terrified by the fighting or lost their cars. No outrage or detonation of anger justifies that. Tescos, meh - but only wankers attack innocents.

Comments

Steven.
Aug 8 2011 19:36

Yeah, the crowd in Hackney was very mixed. Loads of onlookers, people just hanging around watching, was a pretty friendly atmosphere really.

anessen
Aug 8 2011 20:23

It's hard to get a sense of what is going on on the ground from the major news channels. Is there any political motivation to this, is it just general anger against the government or are people just going apeshit?

batswill
Aug 8 2011 20:48

Its at times like this when the anarchist/communist becomes the connoisseur, mimicking the capitalists excesses, sampling the produce for free, for once not having to slave away to have food. Its about cities, capitalist constructs they have lost control of.

Rob Ray
Aug 8 2011 21:09

Difficult to say, many people were clearly pretty angry at police, some looked like they were in it for the laugh and most were out from the estates round the way, only really involved as and when, at least that's what I was taking from it. Interesting video through from vice magazine though, they claim this was the incident that sparked it, girl's brother gets lifted...

Rob Ray
Aug 8 2011 22:41
anessen
Aug 8 2011 23:35

How is this good for us in any way? They're trashing their own communities.

Chilli Sauce
Aug 8 2011 23:49

Yeah, but what do we mean by community? Is the cop station down the road part of my community? How about the Tesco or the estate agency?

Not that excuses in any way the actual attacks on the community---homes, post offices---but we need to make sure we differentiate what we mean by community and what the state means by community.

Arbeiten
Aug 8 2011 23:52

I think before making such statements we should all sit around for a couple of days and have a think about it, otherwise we may join this populist tirade of condemnation when we don't even really know what has happened yet....

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 8 2011 23:56

I think the whole point here is that we clearly have no 'community', not a local one anyway. The youths certainly aren't respecting their local areas. Nowadays the term basically exists as a means of promoting identity politics: the black community, the Asian community, etc...

anessen
Aug 9 2011 00:46

Well this is my problem, this is happening without direction. We're people losing their houses because they were above or next to shops that were set alight. That is hurting your community. Burning out police stations, con clubs, big business, you can argue that as an attack on the government or big business, but the kind of fear and damage that this is causing everyday people is not beneficial.

And the thing is, it's not even the rioters fault. As discussed above, it's the natural result of eroding working class unity which was consciously pursued by Thatcher and all after her. It's a clusterfuck and I don't know what to make of it to be honest. Emotions are running high. I'll have to see what happens in the fallout.

Choccy
Aug 9 2011 10:12

Only left Hackney on Monday and it looks like my road is fucked!
Come to Birmingham and drove through the same with Gawkrodger wink

This is the boiling point of years of disaffection and resentment, I can only speak of my experiences of Hackney, but the kids I taught for 2yrs have had their communities wrecked and destroyed by decades of anti-working class policies. Social housing being allowed to run into the ground, rent sky high, kids being shafted in schools in a two-tier education system, kids racially profiled and stop-n-searched in their school uniforms and only a few teachers sticking up for them.
What 'community' is there for them to respect?

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 9 2011 13:03

Definitely the trouble in Hackney yesterday was due to a stop and search in the church opposite Hackney Central. It seemed pretty premeditated in the sense that both kids and cops were gathering, waiting for a spark. It seemed more like a multiracial anti-police riot with outbreaks of looting than anythign else though, fights being split up, people chatting and laughing, etc...

The nighttime looting's different though, eerie as fuck gangster shit.

anessen
Aug 9 2011 13:04

Has anyone actually talked to them about where this is coming from, or is everyone (media, us) just speculating?

Arbeiten
Aug 9 2011 14:10

You did a pretty good job of speculating while some other posters were trying to say this last night anessen wink

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 9 2011 14:49

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biJgILxGK0o&feature=share

"This is not a riot, this is an insurrection"