Timeline: Rioting in the UK

A peaceful demonstration over the police shooting of a 29-year-old man sparked widespread looting and violence.

Mark Biggens
  The killing of Mark Duggan triggered some of the worst riots to hit the UK in decades
Saturday: Britain hires US ex-police chief after unrest

William Bratton, credited with curbing street crime as police chief in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, says he will  develop strategies on dealing with widespread rioting and gang culture.

“I’m being hired by the British government to consult with them on the issue of gangs, gang violence and gang intervention from the American experience and to offer some advice and counsel on their experience,” Bratton told the Reuters news agency in New York on Friday.

Friday: British police charge hundreds over riots

British police have charged almost 600 people with violence, disorder and looting over riots in London that killed five people.

As police charged the alleged offenders, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said Londoners wanted to see “significant sentences” handed out to the guilty.

Police also arrested a 22-year-old man in West London on Friday in connection with the death of an elderly man who sustained injuries as he tried to stamp out a fire started by rioters in Ealing.

Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, succumbed to head injuries after he was rushed by ambulance to a west London hospital on Thursday.

Across the country, more than 1,700 people have been arrested.

Thursday:  Cameron: Fightback against rioters has begun


David Cameron, the British prime minister, says curfew measures and restrictions on social media websites will be considered following days of rioting in London and other English towns and cities.

Cameron called for the country to pull together as he addressed an emergency session of the British parliament on Thursday after a calmer night across the country that saw massive numbers of police officers on the streets of London.

Rioters looted shops, set torched cars and buildings and attacked police stations in four nights of violence that spread from London to other cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham.

Wednesday: another crisis meeting, England match called off

David Cameron to chair another meeting of the government’s crisis committee, COBRA, on Wednesday, to address the ongoing violence across the country.

A football match between England and the Netherlands scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday has been called off.

In Birmingham, three Muslim men died after being run over by a car during disturbances in Britain’s second largest city, according to the Reuters news agency.

Police has launched an investigation into their deaths.

A friend of the men said that they had been part of a group of British Asians protecting their area from looters after attending Ramadan prayers at a mosque.

Tuesday: Officials respond, citizens urge cleanup, riots spread north

Britain’s city streets came under attack from rioters and looters for a fourth night in a row on Tuesday.

According to the Metropolitan Police, a total of 768 arrests have now been made in London since Saturday, 81 of which were made overnight.

However, on Tuesday night, the violence in the capital was nowhere near the scale of previous nights.

But it spread to cities in the north as up to 2,000 rioters stormed shops in the city of Manchester, where 47 people were arrested. Assistant chief constable of Manchester Police said that the violence in the city was  “unprecedented”.

In nearby Salford, a gang of at least 70 rioters looted a shopping centre. And 44 people were arrested in Liverpool because of violent disorder in the city.

Another 109 were arrested in central england, as a crowd of around 300 youths broke into shops in Birmingham city centre. Rioters also smashed shop windows elsewhere and started fires in West Bromwich while roads had to be closed in Wolverhampton.

A group of 30 to 40 youths firebombed a police station in Nottingham, 90 people were arrested there. There have also been reports of ongoing riots in Gloucester, in the west of England.

Earlier, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had carried out ballistic tests on a handgun found at the scene, thought to have been owned by Mark Duggan, and found that the gun had not been discharged.

The UK’s Forensic Science Service is to carry out further tests on the weapon to verify this.

The IPCC’s investigation had also verified that the bullet found lodged in a police officer’s radio handset was a standard issue police bullet, and that it showed signs consistent with being fired from a police gun.

David Cameron recalled parliament after third day of unrest as first death reported since riots began in the UK capital.

A 26-year-old man who was shot in a car in Croydon, south of London, has died in hospital, making him the first casualty during the violence.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin, who only recently assumed his position after his predecessor resigned in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, said his force will remain “steadfast and determined”.

London Mayor Boris Johnson also cut short his holiday and visited the affected areas of the capital on Tuesday.

As calls mounted for stronger measures, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said police would consider using baton rounds, rubber or plastic bullets.

“We simply ran out of units,” said Paul Deller, a police officer and union leader who was based in the Met’s control room, in an interview with BBC Radio 4.

On the web, a movement to coordinate clean up after the rioting began, with a hashtag on Twitter (#riotcleanup) leading the way.

Monday: Riots erupt across London, spread outside
The civil disturbance rattling the UK capital escalated on Monday, as rioting crowds struck neighbourhoods throughout London and spread to the cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, even as the Metropolitan Police – under increasing criticism for failing to stop the unrest – deployed thousands more officers and David Cameron, the prime minister, broke off his holiday in Tuscany.

Shops in the neighbourhoods of Hackney, Islington and Lewisham closed down early, and groups of people appeared on the streets, some setting fires to a car and a row of bins in Lewisham. Elsewhere, citizens and reporters wrote of groups of youths taking advantage of the disorder to commit robbery, theft and beatings.

In Hackney, youth turned over recycling containers to get bottles for throwing at police. The fighting escalated at one point, with youth swarming an officer who had fallen and become isolated. Police rescued their colleague and briefly fought hand to hand with the crowd.

A massive fire consumed a furniture showroom in Croydon, on the outskirts of London, and a 26-year-old man was found in a car suffering from gunshot wounds. Two people with him were arrested for carrying stolen property.

Bus and underground service were suspended in some parts of the city experiencing violence, while Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh apologised to the Duggan family for the poor job police did communicating with them.

Outside of London, clashes began in Birmingham, where social networking sites had predicted violence and around 200 youths smashed shop windows and confronted a police cordon. Eighty seven people were arrested there, while 28 people were injured, most by assaults. Violence and rioting was also reported in city centres in Liverpool and Bristol.

At least 334 people were arrested and 69 charged by the end of Sunday events.

Sunday: Unrest flares in two neighbourhoods

Much of the media and police attention throughout Sunday focused on trying to understand the violence that broke out the night before, but by Sunday night, disturbances had begun again. In Enfield, a neighbourhood of suburban London, groups of young people broke down garden walls to collect bricks and broke into a jewellery store, where they were confronted by police with dogs. Others attacked a police car.

Later, in Brixton, where thousands had gathered for a music festival, at least 200 youth threw stones and bottles at the police, while others looted Vodafone, Foot Locker and H&M shops, as well as attacking banks. One youth was reportedly stabbed under the arm, and riot police confronted the crowd on Brixton High Street at around 1am.

Light vandalism appeared to have occurred in the Walthamstow neighbourhood as well.

Saturday – Protests in Tottenham turns violent

More than 100 north London residents marched on the Tottenham police station to express their anger and demand answers about Duggan’s death. The crowd included civic leaders, Duggan’s fiancee, members of his family and was reportedly led by women. They said that the Independent Police Complaints Commission was not communicating with them and had not told Duggan’s relatives of his death, leaving them to discover the news when they saw his photograph on television.

A chief inspector spoke briefly to organisers, but no higher-ranking officer appeared to offer an explanation. As dusk fell, protesters said, a teenage girl confronted police officers and was pushed away forcefully. Some said she threw a stone and was hit by a baton. Then, a group of young men who had reportedly arrived with petrol cans and weapons attacked two police cars, setting them ablaze and beginning the riots.

Throughout the night, rioters set vehicles and buildings on fire and broke into local businesses. When dispersed by police, some of whom were on horseback, they fled into side streets. The unrest spread to the nearby neighbourhood of Wood Green, where it appeared no police were present to confront car thieves and looters who were breaking into video game and clothing stores into Sunday morning. Twenty-six police officers and 11 civilians were injured, while 55 people were arrested.

Thursday: Mark Duggan shot by police

A 29-year-old resident of the Tottenham neighbourhood in London, Duggan has been described by his family as being both known to the police and a loving father of his three children, aged 10, seven and 18 months. His fiancee, Semone Wilson, and a relative, Shaun Hill, both said Duggan was not the kind of person who would get in a confrontation with officers, but numerous accounts have linked him to local group called the “Star Gang”.

But Duggan was being watched by Trident, a Metropolitan Police operation that investigates gun crime in the black community, and when his cab was stopped by heavily armed members of the Met’s CO19 unit in north London on the night of August 4, it was reportedly part of a preplanned arrest.

Some police sources initially told the media that Duggan opened fire on the CO19 officers and was then shot and killed, but the inquiry into the incident has yet to be released, and recent reports indicate that only the police fired and that bullet fragments recovered from a police car’s radio came from an officer’s gun.

Source: Al Jazeera