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August 19, 2011

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Ian

'How did a scene in which no violence or confrontation was occurring transform within minutes into one where riot police were blocking roads and police property was being smashed' Simple - it was the actions of one man, in a grey Adidas tracksuit with light blue stripes. If you watch it back on TV or look at the many photos taken he i) was the first to throw stuff at the police as they were clearing people from the Narroway towards the junction with Amhurst ii) attacked the police car under the railway bridge iii) attacked the opticians and Ladbrokes, taking chairs to throw at the police iv) can be seen in photos as leading the charge on JD sports.
I'm fairly certain, looking at charges, he's now been arrested. His home address? Upper Street, Islington

Dave Hill

Thanks. Do you know if the van-loads of officers I refer to arrived after/in response to the incident you describe or before it happened?

G_O_M_E_R

Interesting account. I too was there and saw the S&S happening. I also noticed the game of cat-and-mouse around the graveyard. We were actually cutting through at the time on our way home. I was standing watching for a bit outside the M&S until Mrs GOMER sensibly dragged me away (by the time we got home 10mins later we saw on BBC News that it had already kicked off).

We did remark to ourselves that (i) they were schoolkids and (ii) they seemed to be smiling or laughing, as if they were playing some kind of schoolyard game with the cops - being stupid teenagers on summer holidays rather than anything malicious. Whether the S&S and appearance of the riot gear caused the escalation is open to conjecture. Personally I agree with you that it's impossible to say in this kind of potentially volatile situation; I certainly wouldn't be too quick to point the finger at the police. I'm sure their subsequent actions in gradually 'reclaiming' Mare St prevented a lot of carnage.

Having said that, I don't know why they didn't employ the same tactics in taking back the Pembury Estate/ Clarence Road.

Ian

Well, like you I went for a stroll around the Narroway around 4pm - all I saw were lots of police vans, lots of police (no riot police mind you) and an awful lot of people - mostly under 25s but also some older people and, oddly, families milling around. I saw the police moving around following groups all over St Johns Churchyard and there was a real air of expectation - almost like a carnival or prefootball match atmosphere.
When I got back to Millfields at 4:30pm, clearly the mood had changed - I watched it unfold on the BBC and the riot police had been deployed and clearing the Narroway towards Amhurst / Mare St. As I say, the actions of one person in particular caused the events to actually commence however - I've got BBC screenshots and other photos to back this up and would be happy to share?
freshforwards@hotmail.com

CycleOfFutility

Interesting stuff. I think I was under the bridge at the time you wrote:

"Then, all of a sudden, the junction with Amhurst Road was blocked and something was taking place just beyond the railway bridge."

I'd just come out of Hackney Service Centre and was naive enough to think I could make it up to Hackney Central station. Difficult to tell exactly what happened. Someone lobbed a bottle, and then suddenly lots of people were throwing things at the police - bottles, bricks, bits of wood. Then suddenly it was calm again. The police would then push us all down the street, everyone would be a bit confused, and then suddenly things would flare up again instantly and be over very quickly, in time for a bit more police pushing.

This happened a few times, in a few different places, before I managed to get to Dalson. All very confusing.

Paul

I live in Hackney and know the area well. I watched it live on TV flicking between BBC and Sky, which both had helicopters up. I missed the start of that coverage but it was well under way when the kids were smashing up police vehicles under the bridge. It would be good if you could get tapes and compare it with what you saw on the ground.
It did look like a relatively small number of kids giving the police the runaround. The police looked silly when they tried to coral a gang causing damage just south of the railway bridge and the kids scarpered down the alley into the Tesco car park.
It was painful to watch buses with people on board being attacked in Mare Street. Why did the police not clear the way so that they could escape?

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