Social Media Makes the News- UK Riots in August 2011

UK Riots in August 2011


Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man, was shot dead by the Metropolitan police in Tottenham, North East London, on 4 August 2011 after officers attempted to arrest Duggan after suspicions he was planning an attack with the position of a hand gun.

The controversial death of Duggan led to an angry public protest in Tottenham, which escalated into widespread riots, looting and arson across London and elsewhere in the UK.

From 8 until 10 August, other cities in England including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester, started ‘copycat riots’ along with several towns. Along with the death of 5 people, 16 were injured as a result of violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was sustained.

The origins of the riots was spread quickly through BBM and social networking sites such as Twitter. Smedia was essentially used to rapidly spread messages of revolt. For example, There were reports that the BlackBerry Messenger service was used by looters to organise their activities, One of the many messages shared between users was the following: “Everyone in edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!!!!,” it began. “Start leaving ur yards n linking up with your niggas. Fuck da feds, bring your ballys and your bags trollys, cars vans, hammers the lot!!”

As of 15 August, about 3,100 people had been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 had been charged. Although London employs CCTV cameras to monitor crime and large events, reports indicate that citizen footage contributed more to capturing looters in action than the police force.


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