The London Riots

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The acts of violence we have seen on the streets of Ealing and across the city on 8th August 2011 were inexcusable and motivated by nothing other than mindless thuggery.

A small number of people intent on causing destruction set fire to cars, smashed shop windows and, most shockingly of all, hijacked and deliberately crashed a bus. There is no excuse for such appalling criminal acts, which had little in common with the initial peaceful protests in Tottenham and was clearly an opportunistic attempt to loot and vandalise. These riots have nothing to do with the legitimate right of citizens to protest, with no purpose other than to cause mayhem and enrich criminals.

The Mayor has returned to London this afternoon and has been visiting some of the areas affected by the rioting. As a result of this morning’s emergency Cobra meeting, the response to the riots will be stepped up, with almost 16,000 Metropolitan Police officers being on duty tonight. In order to ensure public safety, we have recalled all police officers currently on leave. The Police have so far done a good job despite the overwhelmingly rapid escalation of violence last night, but now is the time to send out a clear message that rioting will not be tolerated and all those who partake in it will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

There is never any justification for wanton destruction and chaos, causing injury to people, damage to businesses and communities, and ruining peoples’ livelihoods. I condemn the actions of those who are involved, and hope all Londoners will agree with me and do the same. Any sympathy that one may have had for the initial cause of the demonstrations has been lost as a group of opportunistic vultures have used the disturbances as an excuse for an orgy of criminality.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see Londoners voluntarily taking part in the clean-up operations, acts which show that the rioters are in a clear minority. I hope that the vast majority of Londoners will continue to shun violence and stay away from the scenes of rioting where possible, thereby ensuring their personal safety and allowing the police to get on with their job. I also hope that they will continue to help those who have lost their homes and businesses. This rioting has to stop immediately.

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