After three nights of rioting, London was relatively quiet last night — I’d like to think that the sight of Prime Minister David Cameron returning early from his villa in Tuscany has struck fear into the hearts of the rioters, but I’m guessing it has more to do with the deployment of an extra 10,000 police.
There was, however, violence and looting in several other cities, notably Manchester and Birmingham. In Birmingham, three Asian men who were on the streets to protect homes and shops were killed when they were hit by a car in an apparently deliberate attack.
As I wrote on the front page yesterday, the riots could take on a whole new dimension if a particular ethnic community feels it’s under attack from another group. There are reports of Turkish, Kurdish and Asian communities organizing patrols in London, and baseball bats and truncheons are selling like hot cakes on Amazon.
Police are now busy rounding up those rioters who were stupid enough to allow themselves to be filmed by security cameras or news crews. Channelling Colonel Gaddafi, a police chief in Manchester warned rioters that his men are “coming for you.”
On a more positive note, thousands of people in London and elsewhere have turned out to clean up their streets – there’s a great photo here. Elsewhere, the Malaysian student who became an unwitting YouTube star after he was filmed being robbed by rioters after he’d been beaten up is recovering in hospital.
A couple of videos for you. Here’s Conservative Education Minister Michael Gove tearing into Labour’s Harriet Harman for trying to blame the riots on government cuts. As Gove points out, Labour was in power for the formative years of most of those doing the burning and looting.
And by way of light relief, here’s a rioter called Alexis Bailey leaving court today. Bailey (who, Heaven help us, works in an infants’ school) was understandably not keen on being filmed, so he covered his face with a newspaper. The trouble with covering your face, though, is that you can’t see where you’re going…