Nervous in Brixton amid UK riots

Brixton is not tense, but certainly nervous. I can only wait like everyone else to see what the next few hours will bring.

by

    So far Brixton has been spared the worst of the rioting that has hit London.

    Two nights ago, a mob of mainly young men tore through the high street, burning and looting.

    Since then it's been quiet.

    But sitting in my favourite cafe in Coldharbour lane, you get a real sense of what it is like to live in a place where the threat of violence is now an ever constant reality.

    The cafe owner has been told by the police to be aware and he is not taking any chances.

    As I write, he's cleaning up and shuttering down and like many of the other businesses in this area the close will hit him hard.

    It's lunchtime. It should be the busiest time of the day. Instead I am sitting with a few other people, all local business owners worried about what the next few hours will bring.

    Rumours are rife, on the streets people clutch their phones in hand, others claim the rioters are on the way.

    Speaking to a police officer on the street, I realise that he is well aware things could change at any moment.

    "If we tell people to shut down, then word gets around that Coldharbour lane is expecting a riot. That attracts others and then the situation gets out of hand," he said.

    Before moving to Doha I lived in Brixton for 10 years.

    I have friends here, and fond memories of vibrant local community, great food, great music and lots of what can only be described "good vibes".

    Today those good vibes have gone. Brixton is not tense, but certainly nervous. I can only wait like everyone else to see what the next few hours will bring.

    As the sun shines overhead, the police on the street try and calm local residents’ nerves, but their words seem hollow as a lone police helicopter hovers overhead drowning out any words of calm.


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