London On Fire… August 2011…
The UK riots, which started in London and spread outward to Liverpool, Manchester and Birmhingham on Tuesday, hit Gloucestershire College around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. Rioters set fire to an abandoned building and to trashcans next to the Gloucester library, which is also burning according to some reports.
A gathering of youths in Gloucestershire was called a “major twist” by Guardian reporter Paul Lewis on twitter. Three arrests in the university town have been made, according to a police report.
Violence has erupted in a number of places, and the list of English cities under attack growing by the hour. Reports coming in from Liverpool claim that a group of 200 people — mostly male youths in masks and hoods — threw Molotov cocktails and “missiles” at police, shutting down major parts of the city as they continued to loot stores.
In Nottingham, a city north of London, the Canning Circus Police Station was firebombed by a group of 30 to 40 men.
Reports of looting and disorder in Birmingham and Liverpool began Monday, and now local police are responding to incidents in Manchester, Birkenhead, West Bromwich, Salford and Wolverhampton.
Nearly 700 people have been arrested in London alone, and about 110 of them have been charged.
“These are pure and simple criminals running wild tonight,” said Garry Shewan, Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police.
“They have nothing to protest against there has been no spark. This has been senseless on a scale I have never witnessed before in my career.”
Police are pouring over CCTV footage to try to identify looters, and they assure the English populace that arrests will be made as early as tomorrow morning.
In the Hackney neighborhood of London, masked youths broke into shoe and electronic stores as well as attacked and burned buses on Monday.
A total of 16,000 police officers are currently in the capital.
Businesses across London closed all day Tuesday, fearing that violence would spread further. Store owners were seen nailing wooden boards over shop windows, and many businesses pulled down metal grating and barriers to protect their property. The barricades can only do so much, however, and in Hackney, people ripped though the metal shutters of a Carhartt clothing store before looting its contents.
Yet, in some areas such as Hackney and Clapham Junction — where rioting struck Monday afternoon — residents are already picking up the pieces. In the south London neighborhood, people holding brooms gathered in the streets, defiantly showing they are ready to start healing. Joined by Mayor Boris Johnson, the residents of Clapham swept up broken glass and cleaned sidewalks.