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Tottenham protest sparked it all

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Wednesday August 17, 2011 15:45author by Maciej Zurowski Report this post to the editors

Maciej Zurowski encountered angry locals and grinning cops when he went to Tottenham Police Station. Here are some excerpts from his article and interviews with locals. Full text at link.

On Sunday afternoon, it looked as if the police had been instructed to use a new tactic to contain the public anger: grin. The area around Tottenham police station, which had been subject to severe rioting the previous night, was cordoned off by the boys and girls in blue, each of them sporting an unpersuasive, frozen smile. Gathering in front of the police line were those who have not got much to smile about these days: the overwhelmingly working class denizens of the impoverished north London neighbourhood, which had seen its last major riot during Thatcher’s reign in 1985.

“Murderers! You’ve shot a young father dead,” the woman shouted, following the accusation with assorted expletives. As she walked off, two officers turned to each other and chuckled. You would have thought that homicide is not exactly a laughing matter, especially when you consider that 333 people have died under British police custody since 1998 and not a single police officer has been successfully prosecuted. But then that’s just human defence mechanisms for you.

Do you think it’s understandable that people are so angry?

Faisal: I can understand it, but I don’t think it justifies all the rioting, which in my view was opportunistic. You’ll always have an element that will look to kick things off, and then everybody else is destroying things.

Derek: I’m convinced that the people who came to the police station didn’t want any violence. But then people came from Hackney and other areas to join the gangs and start looting and destroying shops. No-one condones what they have done - I think it was very wrong. There are things that need to be investigated, and it needs time until we hear the real truth about what happened. If people jump to conclusions and take the law into their own hands, it is very wrong.

But, then again, people were angry because the police were not listening. If you simply ignore 200-300 people, I think tempers will run high.

Joy: I think what happened yesterday is understandable. It’s time that we start putting our foot down now and stand up to these police here. They’re not doing their job right. They’re in these uniforms to protect their state and their own selves, not the public. People are angry because of what happened on Thursday, but they are also angry about many things that have happened in the past and that nothing has been done about. So if the law won’t take it in hand, the public will take it in their own hands.

Related Link: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004509
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