Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Eltham and the London riots (& UPDATE)

I've no time to post a longer piece (so much to say here), but for now, I really welcomed local MP Clive Efford's statement last night. He was "furious" at the self-style activists from outside the area tying up police resources in Eltham being drunk and disorderly.

Here's a report and footage posted by the NewsShopper:

I've spent years writing about the wonderful things going on in Eltham, so it is particularly galling to see these scenes. As I understand it, there was NO looting in Eltham last night, just the police having to deal with these unruly people. I spent hours yesterday on Twitter yesterday trying to dispel all rumours of 'EDL riots', but then I started seeing the tweets and pictures from those taking part and I got a bit cross about people bigging them up without knowing what was going on. Surely, proper defenders would be liaising with the police and not have spent hours drinking in the pubs?

There's also an awful Eltham picture I've seen of the police having to kettle the 'defenders' with riot shields! However much we appreciate people defending Eltham (and that is a brave thing), there is something wrong with doing it in this way, isn't there? 

[UPDATE: Wednesday (10 Aug) night:
You'll know by now that, while all around London the troubles were at last quietening, much of this happened again tonight ('London riots: vigilantes hurl bottles at police in Eltham'), though this time with hundreds of police and lots of police vans in attendance. Sky News had live cameras trained on police as they again had to deal with crowds gathered once again.  Here's the ITN News footage ('Police clash with Eltham rioters').

This time, however, following lessons learnt yesterday, the police had advised that Eltham High Street pubs be closed, from early evening. Then at about 10.15pm, with this succinct message from the Met Police, the evening was concluded as far as they were concerned: "Missiles thrown at officers in Eltham. Incident dealt with and group dispersed. Police remain on scene."

The police did an brilliant job - apparently there were police groups from all over the country and even Wales. The saturation policing of London has largely quelled the disturbances. This shows that we need the police numbers rather than reducing them.

One of the rabid debates on Twitter was whether far-right groups were or were not involved. Some people even objected quite vehemently to this being discussed at all - it's akin to being unpatriotic about Eltham, or something like that (some of that 'flame mail' came my way). Widely-viewed video footage certainly shows that they were present on Tuesday evening, with their 'Regional Organiser' saying he was there 'to manage and control' people there.  I guess if you don't want to be associated with these groups, or fear that you may become a target of them, this would have made it difficult for all citizens of Eltham to be able to take part in 'defending Eltham'.

I hope we can return to the Eltham we've come to know and can enjoy. We've got so much going for this town - perhaps we need an event or coming together to get over this horrible episode, show our solidarity, and ensure that we don't see headlines like that about Eltham again.]


Marion said...

I had heard that Argos, at Eltham, had been ram raided. Mind you, I had also heard that Asda, at Sutton, had been looted but that turned out not to be true.
It would have been good to know that the community had turned out to protect Eltham but I don't think several hours of drinking beforehand was a good idea and there is talk that those involved weren't from Eltham at all so their motives are dubious.
I can't remember the last time I saw a proper policeman on the street in Eltham.
Maybe some trouble might be avoided if they were more visible.

Raven said...

Well, there are hundreds of police and dozens of police vans there tonight - live on Sky News now. No looting but trying to deal with the crowds assembled. What a waste of police resources at this time.

The only trouble I've heard of this week is that an Argos window MAY have been broken/shattered (unconfirmed). They have been no fires or looting.

Nana said...

Well it seems that a gang of youths smashed Argos windows but before they could take anything from the shop a group of men came out from the the pub and chased them off.. Just thought I would keep you up to date..

Raven said...

Thanks Nana. I had seen that somewhere but was unsure about its reliability, beyond that a window was broken - would be interesting to know where you saw that?

Paul W said...

Totally agree with your last paragraph about Eltham having a lot going for it.

We probably need a spell with the media spotlight off us but I hope that at some point the Council remembers we're here and says the same.

MattyinSE9 said...

Good article, it was true that Argos had a window broken on Monday , I tried to go shopping there on Tuesday and it was closed. Heavy benches had been tipped over and perhaps were used to break the window. No idea if the vandals were chased away though as Nana says.

Greenwich Time states that Argos and two jewellers were broken into.