Tottenham riots condemned by David Lammy PM - police response questioned
14:27 07 August 2011
Riots and looting which scarred Tottenham were condemned as “totally unacceptable” by David Lammy MP, who blamed troublemakers from outside the area for much of the violence, last night.
Mr Lammy rejected comparisons between the scenes on Saturday in Tottenham High Road, with the notorious Broadwater Farm clashes between police and protestors 25 years ago.
Forty two arrests were made by police during a night of chaos in Tottenham, when petrol bombs set alight buildings, cash machines were stolen and looters ransacked shops.
Violence flared following a daytime march by around 300 people to Tottenham police station, after the shooting on Thursday of Mark Duggan.
“The vast majority in people in Tottenham reject what’s happened,” said Mr Lammy.
“A community that’s was already hurting has had the heart ripped out of it. The post office, fitness shop, newsagents, council buildings- smashed to piece by mindless people last night, many of whom are not from Tottenham and who came from far beyond intent on causing violence.
“What happened here on Thursday night raised huge questions and we need answers, but the response to that is not to loot and rob.
“We do not know if there are fatalities in homes above shops which were burned down, we have officers in hospital, some of whom are seriously injured. This is a disgrace as many of my constituents have said to me as I have talked to them.”
Mr Lammy ended for an end now to the unrest, amid fears tonight could see more criminal disturbances blight the area.
“This must stop and this is nothing like the sort of scenes in Tottenham 25 yrs ago,” he insisted. “Then there was a particular relationship with the police.
“This was on attack on Tottenham, on people, shopkeepers, women, children who are now standing on the streets, homeless. There are questions about the nature of the escalation of this violence and the nature of the policing which led up to it.
Questions about the role of police before and during the troubles were raised, said Mr Lammy.
“I’m concerned that what was a peaceful process turned into this. And it went on for many hours before we saw the kind of policing which is appropriate.
“The small skirmishes we saw initially should have been stopped far quicker. So I have a meeting with the police and the broader community to discuss our way forward, and I think it’s very important to remember that this is a community.
“Many people are more about building community than destroying communities. For every person who threw a stone there are thousands committed to Tottenham to building it. That will continue, and we will start straight away to return our high road to normal.
“This is totally unacceptable. I’ve lived here all my life and to see a high road devastated like this is deeply painful. We need answers and I will continue to speak with the police and IPPC who need to be in close contact with the family of Mark Duggan, who felt totally isolated in the initial stages after Thursday night and we need know restraint and clam.
“I say to those who wanted to come to Tottenham to cause violence and disturbance to stay away – we don’t need you. We don’t 25 years of rebuilding communities and trust to be destroyed because of mindless nonsense.”