The riots in Tottenham, which began as a protest demanding transparency in the aftermath of the death of a young father-of-four from the local area, spiralled into looting, arson, violent clashes with police, and assaults on members of the public; the likes of which had not been seen in the UK for a generation.
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On Saturday 6th August 2011 at 5.30pm around 300 people including some of Mark Duggan's relatives and local residents marched from Broadwater Farm estate to Tottenham Police Station on the High Road demanding information on the circumstances of Duggan's death two days earlier.
[Tottenham Police Station - High Road, Tottenham]
At 8pm the protest escalated after a 16-year-old allegedly threw a missile at police, who in turn responded heavily [shown in video above]. At 8.20pm two police cars were set alight by protesters. Bottles, fireworks and other missiles were thrown at police, shops along the High Road shut, and employees vacated the premises, with one shop owner telling Blottr that despite owning a shop in the centre of the disturbances he ‘watched it on television like everybody else’.
The following day the London Fire Brigade reported that during the disturbance they attended 49 fires, and received over 250 emergency calls; the most fires in the capital since the Blitz.
One year on, in Tottenham more than in other affected areas, there is little to no sign of the destruction, violence and unruly behaviour that crippled the community last August. There appears to be, especially in Tottenham, a reluctance to even talk about what happened. When speaking to numerous shopkeepers along the High Road. Almost all said they were not there, or that they have nothing to say.
Although of course it is commendable that in Tottenham the ‘clear-up’ has been almost complete, that there is no reminder of the events is a questionable move. There is not only a lack of physical evidence that the riots happened, it seems that not much, if anything has been done to address the grievances that existed before last August. Indeed, even the information that protesters demanded from police one year ago following the death of Mark Duggan remains undisclosed. The only visible sign of positivity in Tottenham is a few stickers, and posters in the tube station, reading 'I heart Tottenham'.
Hope that the Olympics with their 'inspire a generation' tagline will filter positivity and inspiration down to London's youth, while a lovely sentiment, fails to address the fundamental issues. Tensions between many communities and the police have been fraught for years, in some areas more than others, especially Tottenham. It was not only young people who took part, and need to be engaged, it is entire communities, whose individual dissatisfactions are wide-ranging and still wholly exist one year later.