Home Parliament was recalled as rioting spread across London and to other cities. It began in Tottenham on Saturday night, two days after a black man, Mark Duggan, was shot dead by police during an attempted arrest. Friends gathered at Tottenham police station asking the truth of the incident. The Independent Police Complaints Commission later announced that ‘speculation that Mark Duggan was “assassinated” in an execution style involving a number of shots to the head are categorically untrue’. (Two days later the commission confirmed that Duggan had a loaded gun, but there was no evidence it was fired.) Rioting that night saw a double-decker bus, three police cars and several buildings burnt, notably a 1930s commercial block with 26 flats above it at 638 High Road, Tottenham. One woman made homeless, Rosie Patousa, expressed her disgust that a looter carried off rugs laughing as she fled for her life. As day broke on Sunday, looters were at work untroubled by police at Wood Green and Tottenham Hale. On the second night there was looting in Enfield and Brixton.
On the third day, a shop at 193 Rye Lane, Peckham, was set alight and an offlicence in Hackney was looted. Many cars were set on fire. Looters co-ordinated action by BlackBerry messaging. Debenham’s at Clapham Junction and its neighbouring shops were looted, with police outnumbered by scores of looters. Woolwich High Street was looted, and 200 looters ransacked Ealing Broadway. Sony’s large warehouse was burnt down at Enfield. Lewisham, Harlesden,
Islington and Catford also saw looting. In Notting Hill, diners at the Ledbury were sheltered in the cellar as robbers invaded the restaurant. In Croydon, a pawnbroker’s and a large furniture shop were burnt down, and then a row of shops and flats. Shops were looted around New Street and the Bull Ring in Birmingham, with disorder also in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and David Cameron, the Prime Minister returned from holiday. Mr Cameron chaired a Cobra (crisis response) meeting then said that 16,000 police officers would be on duty in the capital. London enjoyed a mostly quiet night, but looting spread further in Birmingham, Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Leicester. Three men guarding their road in Birmingham died when a car ploughed into them. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh of the Metropolitan Police countenanced the use of plastic bullets. A polar bear killed Horatio Chapple, aged 17, on a school trip to Svalbard, Norway; one of his companions had to have some of the bear’s teeth surgically removed from his head.
Abroad Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s government debt from AAA to AA+, just after trading ended for the weekend. Xinhua, the official news agency of China, said: ‘The largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower has every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems.’ When trading resumed, the Dow the spectator | 13 August 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk
Jones fell by 2.5 per cent. President Barack Obama made a broadcast: ‘Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America.’ The Dow Jones fell another 3 per cent that day. The British, French and German stock markets saw similar falls. Shares rallied after the US said it would curb interest rates until 2013. The price of gold rose to another unprecedented level. The European Central Bank said it was buying Spanish and Italian bonds. Spain promised to make budget savings of €5 billion. The Duchess of Alba, aged 85, prepared to make over her fortune of £3 billion to her children and to marry a civil servant, aged 61, from the ministry of social security.
Dozens more civilians were killed by government forces in Syria. According to human rights monitors, about 1,700 civilians had been killed and tens of thousands arrested since the uprising began in mid-March. Tanks shelled the city of Deir al-Zour. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for ‘an end to the killing machine and bloodshed’, and urged President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to implement real reforms urgently. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors. Flowing salt water was detected on Mars.
In Afghanistan, a US helicopter carrying 38, including 22 Navy Seals, was shot down by Taleban. US drones killed 21 on Pakistan’s north-west frontier. Al-Shabab, the militant Islamists, withdrew from most of Mogadishu as famine gripped Somalia. Millangoda Raja, the elephant with the longest tusks in Asia, died in Sri Lanka, aged 70. CSH