Rioting in London. Image: Wikipedia Commons

The Metropolitan Police of London, often referred to as Scotland Yard, have cautioned Twitter users not to incite further rioting in London. Riots broke out in London after police shot and killed a man that many Londoners believe to have been killed without reason.

Suspicious shooting by London police leads to rioting

Tottenham, one of the northern boroughs of the city of London, erupted in riots over the weekend when a shooting by police caused tensions to boil over into violence. Mark Duggan, according to The Guardian, was shot and killed by a police officer on Thursday, Aug. 4, when the taxi he was riding in was stopped, and an “exchange of gunfire” occurred. Duggan, a suspected gang member, was killed on the spot by a police officer. A non-police issue firearm was found at the scene. A bullet was found lodged in the policeman’s radio, but that bullet was found to be police issue ammunition. Residents of Tottenham became concerned about the suspicious nature of the shooting. Demonstrations on Thursday night and into Friday and Saturday eventually gave way to rioting, according to USA Today.

Rioting spreads to other areas

Protests and demonstrations were held through Friday and into Saturday, when a small but growing number of people began rioting. According to the Telegraph, police were rumored to have roughly handled a 16-year-old girl during mass demonstrations. Police were assaulted, and police cars, homes and businesses were set afire as demonstrations gave way to carnage. London police focused their attention on the fires and rioting, which freed up “opportunistic” criminals to engage in rampant looting of stores throughout Tottenham. Police were unable to restore order until Sunday morning, but fresh rioting broke out again on Sunday evening, according to the Daily Mail, and in other districts of London. Confrontations between police and looters took place on Sunday in the North London borough of Enfield and in Brixton, a South London district. At least 160 people have been arrested.

Social media used to coordinate looting

Much of the destruction has come from looters, who used social media such as Twitter and BlackBerry messaging applications to coordinate looting efforts. According to Time, private messages were sent out in mass texts through BlackBerry Messaging and then “Tweeted” to alert people of where to start pillaging stores. Scotland Yard, according to The Telegraph, has condemned looting as “opportunistic criminality” and has warned people that any use of Twitter or social media to coordinate further looting activities will culminate in the arrest of those responsible. An investigation is already under way to determine the identities of people who engaged in such activity. Tottenham is one of the poorest neighborhoods of London, with a history of tension between the residents and authorities that stretches back decades.


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