9 Aug 2011

Four more cities erupt in riots

Hundreds of people have been arrested after large scale violence and disorder spread from London to Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, and Nottingham. There has also been minor violence in Leeds.

Birmingham saw the largest disturbances with over 100 people arrested, and more than 30 people injured, after what police described as “mindless thuggery.”

Violence and looting was mainly confined to the city centre but trouble did flare up outside Handsworth police station.

Trouble began after a tense stand-off between officers armed with batons and gangs of young people outside the Bullring shopping centre, prompting it to close early.

Then, at around 7.30pm, violence broke out with gangs rampaging from New Street down Corporation Street towards Birmingham Cathedral as officers attempted to disperse the crowds.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, described the riot as “mindless criminality”, but added lessons should be learned.

She said: “Obviously we have to have a debate and consider whether there are underlying reasons and learn some of the lessons potentially from some of these incidents as well.”

London riots: Interactive timeline map
Riot police retreating (Reuters)


Violence flared in Liverpool overnight for up to five hours as hundreds of rioters marauded through the streets to the south of the city centre.

Cars and wheelie bins were set alight on a trail of destruction which stretched from the city centre to Toxteth, Dingle and Wavertree.

The first reports of disorder came in at 10pm and calm was not restored until about 3am.

Police appeared to largely combat what they labelled “isolated outbreaks of disorder” by attempting to contain the troublemakers rather than charge into running battles.

A mob of about 300 people, mainly youths with their heads and faces covered, were the source of the mayhem in the largely residential areas.

As the night progressed the group became more fragmented as officers in riot gear and wielding batons, supported by police vans, sealed roads off.

Several stand-offs did take place though as the rioters pelted officers with anything they could get their hands on with missiles used ranging from golf clubs to bricks and bottles.

Read more: Communities rally for riot clean-up


In Bristol, hundreds of rioters clashed with police in the St Pauls, St Werburghs and Stokes Croft areas, before spilling into the city centre.

Cars and bins and were also set alight as a crowd of about 200 youths headed towards the city’s main shops.

A small number of arrests were made but officers will continue their inquiries throughout the day and will be using CCTV to identify those responsible

The chief superintendent of Avon and Somerset police, Jon Stratford, said: “There has been a series of sporadic and volatile incidents throughout the night, with a small number of people intent on causing violence and criminal damage to property. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in our city.”

Workmen then began the clean up and were seen to sweep up glass and rubbish that was strewn across the length of Cheltenham Road.

Gallery: London on fire


Nottingham saw “serious but sporadic” violence which started at around 11.30pm in the St Ann’s area of the city when missiles were thrown at a police car by a gang of 30 people.

A group was then followed to the nearby Victoria Centre shopping centre where they attempted to smash their way into a branch of J D Sports.

Afterwards, petrol bombs were thrown at St Ann’s police station, damaging two cars in the rear yard, and for the next two hours, vehicles were attacked in the area, with one being broken into and driven deliberately into ten others.

Nottinghamshire police’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Scarrott said more than 100 officers had to be deployed to deal with the “mindless, thuggish criminality” which had “no justification” but were simply copycat attacks.

He added: “What provoked a night of serious disorder is not clear, but I can only assume that a mindless minority may have somehow, and perversely, felt motivated by the appalling events in London in the last few days.”

Two people were arrested.

Read more: Tensions remain high in Tottenham


A car was burnt out as police dealt with “small pockets of disorder” in the Chapeltown area of Leeds last night.

Trouble flared after a shooting took place in the Savile Place area of Chapeltown at around 6.40pm.

There were no reports of any looting or damage to any commercial premises, West Yorkshire Police said.

A 34-year-old local man was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with serious injuries following the shooting.

A police spokesman said there were “small pockets of disorder” in Chapeltown, adding: “Police in Leeds confirm that one vehicle was burnt out earlier on Chapeltown Road. This incident was short-lived and dealt with by the fire service.”

Greater Manchester Police’s assistant chief constable, Terry Sweeney has reassured the community that there has been no disorder in the city since the rioting began in the capital over the weekend.