I'm doing this series of reporting for Vox Africa News on the causes of the riots and the point of view of the different types of people who happened to be involved in them in a way or another.
Last Friday, I went to Enfield where a few rioters agreed to talk to me as well as an outreach worker who is daily in contact with London's kids.
Here is the link to the story:
Or the whole news bulletin where the report was broadcasted. It is at 11 min 30:
While investigations and court hearings continue in London following the August riots, Vox Africa News went back to Enfield where some rioters agreed to talk to us. They live in the neighbourhood and whilst admitting to participating in the riots they are clear they don’t condone lootings. For them as well as the social workers from the neighbourhood and from Tottenham where the riots sparked, there are deep reasons explaining why the youth feel targeted by the police. Melissa Chemam and Nana Dankwa.
Enfield is a quiet neighbourhood in North London, next to Tottenham. But it was rapidly touched by the violent riots that took the street of London from August 6.
M. and AJ participated to the rioting and agreed to meet us to explain how they think it all started.
AJ: “We went down to Tottenham and it was madness…But it was also North London fighting back”.
M.:”I was not interested in looting at all. I understand what happened in Tottenham cause they killed an innocent man there. But the rest of the riots were too much and I don’t understand why”.
For those young Londoners, the riots were definitely the sign of the deep problems of the British society. Both M. and AJ think the police are too regularly targeting youth and that they have to ease their pressure on the poorest neighbourhood. According to them, the police are constantly controlling young people and stereotyping them.
M: "Everyone went crazy, there was fire, etc. But the police have to respect the civilians”.
Both also think there are chances for the riots to happen again.
Karl Donaldson is an outreach worker interacting daily with the kids of London, especially in North London. He was in Enfield during the first days of the riots.
Karl Donaldson: “Tottenham was the spark; it had a meaning because of the tension of the police. But then it went out of control”.
But Karl also understands that the youngest and the poorest feel left out: “I think they’re disillusioned and there’s a serious discipline problem”.
Like AJ and M, he believes the recent riots in London are far from being over, especially if authorities don’t try to understand the deep roots of the discontent.