“Our church will survive this.”
That was the recorder‘s headline after violence and looting in Newham during the London Troubles that erupted 10 years ago today (Friday 6th August).
When rioters attacked East Ham on August 8, 2011, “hooligans” broke windows, started fires and stolen goods from stores.
Shopkeepers reportedly took matters into their own hands to protect their stores during the turmoil.
An optician on High Street North recalled five teenagers who stormed into the store, smashed it, and then smuggled it out the door when the store’s shops began to fall.
He described gangs in balaclavas and face-covers stalking the street and breaking windows in Barclays Bank.
An eyewitness said that recorder Rioters targeted chains like Argos, NatWest and Currys in East Ham.
On police advice, West Ham United has postponed the Carling Cup clash with Aldershot.
Then the then Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “We have to catch this bunch of hooligans because that was all, a bunch of criminal hooligans.”
East Ham MP Stephen Timms praised the Newham parishes, adding, “I heard people were standing in some parts of Newham to make sure there was no looting and when that happened I salute the.”
He called for lessons to be learned to prevent it from happening again.
West Ham MP Lyn Brown flew back from vacation in Germany to meet police, community members and MPs.
The anti-racist and police monitoring organization Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) urged the community not to split after a police officer shot Mark Duggan in Tottenham. It is widely believed that his death sparked the riot.
“It is crucial that we understand how this incident hit the nerve of a community that feels ignored and wallowing in injustice and privation,” NMP said at the time.
As of November 2011, a total of 125 people had been arrested by police in Newham and 66 were charged. In addition, 102 of those arrested in the district had previous convictions.
The average age of those arrested at the time was 21 years. The youngest arrested was 11 and the oldest arrested was 42 years old.