Round-up of last night/this morning
A large police presence across London and other areas of the UK has been effective in stopping a fifth night of disturbances. Large crowds of local ‘vigilantes’ in Eltham, South London, were dispersed efficiently by police in the area. LBC reported that police in Lewisham broke up a group of about 50 black youths who said they were on a “peaceful protest against the English Defence League”. Elsewhere in London, there were several reports of sirens, helicopters and police in general – although this seems to have been precautionary rather than a response in most cases. Scotland Yard claims that 922 people have been arrested in connection with violence in London since Saturday and of those, 401 have been charged so far. The Home Affairs Select Committee says it will be holding an inquiry into riots in September.
Meanwhile, a 26-year-old man shot dead on Friday night in Croydon has been named as Trevor Ellis. The man who was shown being punched in the jaw and then mugged by people who appeared to be ‘helping’ him has been named as Ashraf Haziq, 20, a student who had been in Britain less than a month. A Facebook group, Let’s do something nice for Ashraf Haziq, has been set up. A spokesperson for the group told Radio 5 Live this morning that the cause had grown quite popular and the most popular idea at the moment is to send Haziq and his family out for the day.
Elsewhere in the UK, two men have been arrested in Manchester found to be in possession of a balaclava, ball bearings, drugs and money. An 11-year-old girl has been charged with criminal damage following disturbances in Nottingham. Essex remained quiet throughout the night. Officers are urging local residents everywhere not to take matters into their own hands, to leave the policing of the streets to them rather than putting themselves in danger.
The clean-up operation has been getting a very positive response from local communities across the country. Social networking seems to be the driving force behind it as people are able to contact large groups of people within their area very quickly – a more positive use than the groups who utilised sites to arrange riots.
Incidentally, Facebook/Twitter will be the main source of news from The West Londoner today as we’re having a ‘day off’ – of sorts. If you would like to donate towards the relief effort, you can find information on how to do it here.