The centres of Hackney, Croydon and Lewisham were the scenes of ugly confrontations between marauding gangs of youths and police in full riot gear today as the riots which devastated Tottenham at the weekend spilled over into other parts of London’s inner city areas. Many areas of the capital were riot zones tonight, with looted shops, burnt out vehicles, gangs of masked youths and squad of riot police.
Buildings, cars and buses were set on fire, shop windows smashed and premises looted and police showered with missiles, including rocks, bricks, and sticks. London Mayor Boris Johnson has cut short his holiday to return to the capital. ELL will be trying to keep up with events across our area.
Home Secretary Theresa May – who has also cut short her holiday – said in a press conference this evening: “Lets be absolutely clear that there is no excuse for violence, looting, thuggery and violence on our streets and the ones responsible will be brought to justice” and continues saying that now this is “sheer criminality” and no longer has anything to do with the death of Mark Duggan.
Here are the events as they come in to us:
23.30: Unconfirmed reports of a man being shot in Croydon
23.00: Central Croydon looked like a war zone tonight with a number of buildings in flames, although the rioters seemed to have dispersed. Sky News are reporting that the London Road area of Croydon is a ‘lawless zone’ where their crews were threatened by masked rioters amid the debris of burnt out vehicles.
22.30 This pic is circulating on Twitter of a woman apparently jumping from a burning building in Croydon. Warning: it is not yet confirmed as genuine.
22.12 Link to a YouTube film of a woman confronting the rioters in Hackney is here
22.10: Ellie Rose Tweets from Hackney: ”Looking for an #apocalypse buddy – don’t want to be alone foraging for food when the world ends.” And iainhaywood adds: ”PROTIP: If you’re in Hackney, stay indoors. Lots of lurkers. Everyone in the world seems to be getting mugged/beaten up.” It’s that kind of atmosphere in London tonight.
22.08: Unconfirmed reports of violence in the London Fields area of Hackney. And lots of reports on Twitter that Turkish shop and cafe owners in Dalston have banded together and armed themselves with baseball bats and sticks to protect their premises against mobs of rioters: @jamesjammcmahon : ”Things calmed down in Dalston – largely due to heroic mobs of Turkish men standing guard down high street!”
22.07: Among the mainline stations that have been shut are Peckham Rye and Queens Road, Peckham, as well as Barking in east London, West Croydon, Sydenham and Bethnal Green. Many roads had to be closed as the violence continued. Among them was a section of Tottenham High Road in north London and the A107 Lower Clapton Road in Hackney, north east London.
22.00 Terribly poignant Tweet here: @marcreeves Marc Reeve: ‘That shop in Croydon is on a street that bears its name: Reeves Corner. Established by my gt gt grandfather in 1867. Now gone.”
22.00: The Metropolitan Police tonight asked parents throughout the capital to keep their children indoors to a safe environment as there are ‘far too many spectators’. Police said the community needs to make it easier for the police to ‘do their job’.
21.58: Rumours that the New Cross Venue has been burned down is as of this moment denied by Brockley Central Blog.
21.35: BBC footage shows a number of serious fires in Croydon. A furniture store that had been in Croydon for over 100 years has been burned down. Many of the flats above the blazing stores have also been lost.
21:15: Pernille Hilton emails that Hackney is quietening down. On her walk from Mare Street to Dalston she was stopped and offered full bottles of wine and spirits by people who she assumes had been looting.
20.51: Hackney MP, Diana Abbott had this to say on the BBC: “This is a terrifying event for our people. Its appalling what is happening. Who will invest in communities with this level of violence? The looting has to stop.”
20.50pm: Police car driving through stormed by about 100 youths. Just made it through by stepping on the accelerator. Pembury rd cordoned off and youths have been driven into the park. One youth has been arrested.
20.46: In Hackney, an officer could be seen lying on the ground after being struck on his shield by a missile, the Press Association reports. Other officers created a cordon around him while he was treated by colleagues.
20.25pm: Police are now on both sides of Clarence Road, with gangs of youths moving in and out of the estate. More police charges and sticks and rocks coming the other way.
20.15: Dramatic scenes tonight at the Pembury estate as violence clashes continue between police and rioters. Local residents have been seen banging on the windows of their homes pleading with police to be evacuated. Some of them are being helped to safety by police. Meanwhile, three cars are burning on Clarence Road. Reports are coming in that at least one reporter has been attacked. Here is a Google map of the area .
20.10: Koos Couvee texts: “Clashes with police on the east side of the estate, people just forced the police back. Cars burnings. Youths throwing rocks at police. More riot cops charging now.”
20.05pm: Helicopters overhead on the estate as gangs of masked youths congregate, reports Koos Couvee.
20.00pm: Attention has now shifted further north to the trouble Pembury estate, in north Hackney, which was the focus only last week of a massive series of early morning police raids aimed at targeting the notorious ‘Pembury Boys’ street gang; large amounts of crack and heroin were seized and a number of people were arrested. You can read the ELL report of the raid here
19.54 pm: @bbctravelalert “stations closed: Peckham Ruy, South Bermondsey, Queens Road Peckham, West Croydon.”
19.49pm In Mare Street, three police helicopters are hovering overhead as random groups of masked youths wander side streets and more and more police arrive every minute. Our reporter, Koos Couvee says: ”The atmosphere is both relaxed and tense, as though things could kick off at any time.”
19.43.pm: The Press Association are reporting that police with dogs charged at rioters throwing bottles in Clarence Road, Hackney, where a car had been set on fire. And a bus in Mare Street was left abandoned with a smashed windscreen, while large areas were covered in broken glass, says the new agency.
Around 20 police officers stood guard in front of a sandwich shop which had its windows smashed in Mare Street. Branches of Ladbrokes, Boots and JD Sports also had their shop fronts damaged.
19.38pm: @pinkipo678 Tweets: “Its horrible knowing that the riots are so close to you yet you can do nothing but hope they stop”
19. 20pm: Our reporter Koos Couvee texts: ”Just saw a whole convoy of black armoured police vans going south on the Kingsland Road.” A few minutes later: ”Armoured bulldozer going south on Kingsland Road.” A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service said ambulances were on standby at several locations across the capital, including in Hackney, but there were no confirmed reports of any injuries.
19.10pm: Tweet from alternativeSE4 : ”Police helicopters circling Lewisham. At least 2 shops attacked at Ladywell end of high street and police reports of knives brandished.”
19.00pm: According to BBC Reporter Alex Kroeger, the situation in Hackney was – and may still be – ‘extremely tense.’ He says:
”A line of riot police is confronting people, some of them masked. Police helicopters are flying low overhead. Some of the youths tried to rush the police line, they were throwing rocks. The police pushed back, sending the crowds running down Mare Street.
I saw some of the rioters pulling at the metal shutter of a shop which had closed early. Traffic is backed up, buses are stopped, most of them are empty. Some buses have been hit by stones.”
18.40pm: Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh of the Metropolitan Police said there would be a third more officers on the ground in London than there were last night, which was three times more than the previous night.
He said the force was getting police officers to Hackney “in numbers” to respond to violence in the area.
18.30m: The Press Association is reporting that the confrontation in Hackney was sparked by a stop and search earlier in the day.
It says: ”Scenes of violence in Hackney echoed those in other areas of the capital over the past two nights, with skirmishes between gangs of youths and police. Rioters, many wearing hoods and masks, were confronted by police lines spanning the width of streets, occasionally moving forward to push the groups back. Officers in riot gear tried to control the situation, coming under fire from objects including chairs and pieces of wood.
At one point several people broke into the back of a stationary lorry, pulling its contents out on to the road, with some hurling it at police and others using it to smash windows of a bus.”
The BBC says police cars were also being smashed by youths, who were armed with wooden poles and metal bars. Looters also smashed their way into shops, including a JD sports store, before police lines dispersed the group. Planks of wood taken from a lorry were then hurled towards riot officers. About eight riot vans have been drafted in and there are up to 200 police officers in riot gear in the Hackney area.
Groups of people began attacking the police at about 16:20 BST, throwing rocks and a bin at officers, according t0 the BBC.
17.00 pm Trains are not stopping at Hackney Central and buses are being diverted from the area.
16.30 pm: In Mare Street, in central Hackney, the rumours turn into reality when groups of young people began attacking shops and business. According to BBC reporter Alex Kroeger reporting from Mare Street, “there are some very young people, mostly people in their teens, a high proportion of African Caribbean but by no means all of them.”
16.00pm: Further rumours of trouble are now spreading throughout the area this afternoon. In Dalston, one 22-year-old female student said: ”The word on the street is that the riots are trashing shops on Mare Street right now and they are coming this way”
Walking home from Tesco on Kingsland Road in Dalston, Mark Ferrar, another student, said: “You can actually sense the fear in people.” And the owner of the Tin Café on Kingsland Road said: “It is a very worrying, I actually just want to close and go home.”
Shop assistant in The Pond Shop on Kingland rd said: “I am getting ready to close so the minute something happens I can get out of here.”
However other shop owners are holding their ground, shopkeeper of Gumus Food Market on Kingsland rd is staying open and states: “I am not afraid.”
15. 30pm: Twitter is alight with rumours. As an ELL reporter arrived in the Dalston area the following messages were circulating
@EmmsHarvey Heard there’s a riot going on on Dalston and Hackney. Shouldn’t affect Shoreditch but thought I should l… Another Tweet said: “just heard that matalan in dalston has apparently been fire bombed. WHY? fucking animals.”
However as our reporter observed: “Most of the shops had their shutters half down. The shopping centre was closing its doors. Dalston people were milling around looking confused. A bunch of community police officers were handing out leaflets. Shop keepers were being asked to lock up, put up their shutters and leave. But there was absolutely nothing happening. No sign of rioting or even of anyone under the age of 30.”
Reporters: Koos Couvee, Angela Phillips, Barbara Hilton.