9 Aug 2011

Communities rally for riot clean-up

Volunteer cleaning squads have been sweeping the streets after the riots. A group in south London told Channel 4 News “what people have done is pretty awful” but we “wanted to come out and help”.

Riot clean up.

Some areas of London have been left wrecked by days of rioting. Homes and shops have burned down, properties looted and windows smashed. Debris litters the streets in some neighbourhoods.

The riots have also spread to other areas of Britain, including Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham.

But some communities have had enough.

Overnight in London’s Dalston there were reports that people from the Turkish community came out onto the streets to warn off the rioters. Many on social networking sites like Twitter praised their apparently peaceful intervention, with some describing them as heroes.

The picture (above) posted on Twitpic by @yassin appears to show the group on the street.


As people survey the damage done to their local area, many are starting to work together to try and move on from the damage.

I just thought I would come out and do what I can. What people have done is pretty awful. Pandora Collins

The hashtag #riotcleanup has been trending on Twitter in the UK as locals set up meeting points for those who want to help. Celebrities have lined up to back the campaign, including Simon Pegg and Stephen Fry. It’s also on Facebook.

One of the organisers, @riotcleanup, wrote earlier: “If they do this again. We do this again tomorrow. Solidarity for our communities. Show them they cannot win.”

On the Walworth Road, in south London, three people armed with brushes and bin bags told Channel 4 News why they decided to come out onto the streets and help tidy up.

Pandora Collins said: “I just thought I would come out and do what I can to help. What people have done is pretty awful.”

Lucas Green, who was carrying armfuls of packaging left behind by looters, said: “From the type of shops they’re targeting it’s not political – sports shops, electrical shops, phone shops…”

Also helping the clean-up, Marcus West criticised the official response to the disorder: “This is what happens when you don’t sort things out quickly.”

Clapham broom resistance. (TwitPic)

And near Clapham Junction (above) dozens of people with brushes arrived to help clear up. Heather Taylor, who lives nearby, told Channel 4 News she is utterly disgusted by the riots.

“This is my town my home and I want to clear it up,” she said.

James Walker added: “If there are more people cleaning up than rioting then that’s great for community.”