Ahlan wa sahlan.
My first reaction on Saturday evening was.....what.the.hell.is.going.on.in.London?! As if the nonsense in Syria wasn't insane enough now we have riots breaking out in London too? Latest news reports coming in speak of riots, looting, violence, and arson spreading out from London to other major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, and Gloucester.
So how did this all get started? Lets rewind the clock back to Thursday August 4th, when 29 year alleged drug dealer Mark Duggan was shot dead in a police operation during an attempted arrest in Tottenham, an area in the London borough of Haringey. His death and the circumstances surrounding his fatal shooting were questioned by his family and friends during a peaceful protest in front of a Tottenham police station on Saturday August 6th. However things soon changed when reports of a police assault on a 16 year old girl began to surface, subsequently sparking off a violent riot by several youth gangs. Attacks were carried out in Tottenham late into the night on police cars, a double decker bus, local businesses, and homes. Several assaults on police officers and looting of stores were reported as well.
By sunday and monday the violent riots had spread into other areas of London with even more looting and vandalism of shops and police cars. Due to the local police force being overwhelmed, local turkish and kurdish shopkeepers were forced to protect themselves by forming vigilante 'units'. On monday reports starting coming out that there was also sporadic incidents of violence being experienced in cities outside of London, notably in Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Nottingham. Cars were set alight and even incidents of news reporters being assaulted by teenage gangs began to surface.
The violence and vandalism peaked all through yesterday (Tuesday) and early today. Several fires were started in parts of London such as Barking, Clapham Junction, Ealing, and Croydon as well as the looting of several major retail stores and banks in East Ham. A 26 year old man was shot dead in Croydon as well. The police were able to make over 500 arrests in London and 100 arrests in Brimingham.
However the worst was yet to come.
Due to the preoccupation of the police force in trying to fend off rioters (as if thats an excuse) many shopkeepers and business owners were left to fend for themselves and their neighborhoods, most notably amongst the turkish, kurdish, and south asian desi communities. However standing in the line of fire has its risks. In the city of Birmingham early this morning three british pakistani men (two of whom were brothers) were mowed down in an apparent hit and run while trying to protect local businesses and a mosque from looters and rioters. The three victims were 21 year-old Haroon Jahan and brothers Abdul Musavir, 31, and Shazad Ali, 30. All three subsequently died from their injuries.
To be continued in Part 2 Inshallah