The UK Riots 6 th – 9 th August 2011 MS1: The Representation of an Event
Between 6 and 10 August 2011, several London boroughs and districts of cities and towns across England suffered widespread rioting , looting and arson .
Following a peaceful march on 6 August 2011 in relation to the police response to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police Service firearms officers on 4 August 2011, a riot began in Tottenham , North London .
In the following days, rioting spread to several London boroughs and districts and eventually to some other areas of England, with the most severe disturbances outside London occurring in Bristol and cities in the Midlands and Manchester .
Related localised outbreaks also occurred in many smaller towns and cities in England.
The riots were characterised by rampant looting and arson attacks of unprecedented levels. As a result, British Prime Minister David Cameron returned early from his holiday in Italy and other government and opposition leaders also ended their holidays to attend to the matter. All police leave was cancelled and Parliament was recalled on 11 August to debate the situation.
As of 15 August, about 3,100 people had been arrested , of whom more than 1,000 had been charged. Arrests, charges and court proceedings continue, with courts working extended hours. There were a total 3,443 crimes across London linked to the disorder.
Five people died and at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £ 200 million worth of property damage was incurred , and local economic activity was significantly compromised.
Police action was blamed for the initial riot , and the subsequent police reaction was criticised as being neither appropriate nor sufficiently effective.
The riots have generated significant ongoing debate among political, social and academic figures about the causes and context in which they happened .
Broadcast News Coverage of the Riots
When TV was covering the riots on a round-the-clock basis , it seemed as always with rolling news that they were desperately trying to keep talking about it all the time too.
An endless search for 'experts' (anyone with an opinion) took place and reporters were constantly trying to explain and pin down the meaning of the riots .
Broadcast News Coverage of the Riots
'Community leaders' and politicians were called upon to 'condemn' the riots
and particularly shocking footage was repeated endlessly.
But whenever someone spoke from outside this consensus , however, they tended to be dismissed or even insulted .
The writer Darcus Howe offers his explanation and rather than listen to what he says, the newsreader keeps interrupting him and misrepresenting his views.
She also gets his name wrong and accuses him of having been a rioter.
It backfires as he tells her what he thinks of her. Later the BBC had to apologise.
Interestingly, the clip has had almost five million views since.
Newsnight (BBC 2)
As endless 'experts' were brought out during the week, Newsnight hit probably the lowest point by inviting David Starkey , the historian who had become a household name earlier in the year for his appearance on Jamie's Dream School, onto a panel to give his verdict.
This raised a lot of questions about what constitutes an expert, as his area is Tudor History . Clearly he was on to say something controversial, which he duly did.
A look at the front pages during the week of the riots gives an overview of the way the story was told.
As the disturbances on Saturday night happened after the Sunday papers had gone to press, the first opportunities for the front pages did not come till Monday.
This is one reason that rolling news on TV and the instant coverage from social media was so important. here are some of Monday's front pages:
Newspaper Coverage of the Riots
The Mirror and The Guardian go with the image of the burning furniture store in Tottenham,
whilst the Sun suggests those involved may be of primary school age.
The Telegraph takes the looting angle, with an emphasis almost on the comedy of it (a reference to British 'carry on.'. films) which of course defines the riots in terms of greed rather than anger and had already gained widespread coverage in this footage from Sky News: