‘We are a tinderbox’: Political violence is ramping up, experts warn – by Stephen McGarry
As the world faces a fresh wave of mass protests in the wake of police violence in the London riots, the head of the country’s main human rights watchdog has warned that the crisis is creating a “tinderbox” of tensions.
Amnesty International’s UK director, Rupert Colville, said today: “It’s time we stopped the kind of mass violence we’re seeing in the streets of London.
“We need an overhaul of how the government treats the police.”
He said that many of the deaths seen in the riots had been police killings, which often took place under cover of night, when they would not attract the attention of the public.
The riots began last week, claiming the lives of 16 people, including five rioters, and left over 2,000 homes destroyed.
It followed a spate of violent attacks on Asian workers and residents in east London, including armed robberies, shootings, assaults and arson, which have sparked fears of a race relations crisis.
In the wake of the riots, a report by the London Met police revealed that it is believed there were at least six separate “virus-like” outbreaks of racist violence across the capital. The Met said that over the course of the summer, anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Asian violence caused an estimated £1million in damage to property.
In all, it said, it had recorded four separate outbreaks of anti-Black violence and anti-Asian violence over the six weeks.
Some of these outbreaks of violence included:
• Riots in east London last Monday where an Asian man was killed by the Metropolitan Police
• An anti-Asian attack in Hackney where Asian men were assaulted with bricks
• An anti-Asian attack in Tottenham where Asian men were punched and kicked