We’re used to seeing riots up the road in Belfast, but it’s a different type of riot. The riots in London are not politically or religiously motivated, they’re simply a convenient disguise for looting..
They do it because they can…
Ever since the student riots last year, Police tactics became well known. Masses of police bunch together, then spread them out in lines along as if you’re casting a net around an area and then gradually move in. If the resources aren’t there, a more defensive approach is taken where they simply move protesters away from where they were before. Petty offences go unpunished and only after examining cctv footage and photos do the police take action against people who may have smashed windows, taunted police, looted etc…
Does that approach work? Yes, if the protesters are just vandalising stuff. Nobody really gets hurt or lives aren’t put at risk by smashing a few windows. However, if you’re setting buildings and cars alight and looting shops just for the hell of it, then it’s pretty clear a harder line needs to be taken. A line comprised of bullets, tear gas, water or anything which inflicts bodily harm on people.
The softy, patient, community service punishment approach obviously doesn’t work. Lives are being put in danger before action is taken. This is an embarrassing situation for London & England and the world will watch to see how they deal with it. If they have any sense at all, they’ll clamp down hard and engage protesters with all necessary force. Riots are becoming too common in London and it’s getting dangerously close to the 2012 Olympics. A strong message needs to be sent out.
There are some matches and events on in London over the coming days (e.g. England -v- Holland friendly at Wembley) and again, the responsible thing to do would be to cancel all of them as they’ll only act as magnets for trouble.
and my personal favourite….