Nottingham wakes up this morning: a city in fear following a night of mob rule. As all law-abiding citizens vacated the city yesterday afternoon and stayed at home, yesterday’s night sky was a stream of helicopters and search lights, while the sirens never seemed to stop screaming.
As department shops boarded up their windows and local businesses employed security guards, the city centre became a battleground. Last night’s oxymoronic organised riot on Clumber Street took place, but looting was hampered by a stand-off with mounted police and dog units. There is little information about exactly what took place, but by all accounts the police seem to have spent the night driving the crowd apart and chasing down looters through the city streets.
While the city was the battleground, the city’s police stations were besieged. Five police stations were all firebombed in one night, luckily with no serious injuries.
As local businesses and pubs lost their livelihoods to the rioters, and fires were started throughout residential areas, the vandals have trashed their own city. While the rioters attack police stations, one can see some method in the madness; perhaps they are taking out their frustrations on figures of authority. A similar point could be made on their attacks on public schools: while Nottingham High School is by nature heavily fortified, the Nottingham High School for Girls was breached and damaged last night. But what does not make any sense at all is why Clarendon College, which serves the whole community, was burnt down. Why would a mob, supposedly clamouring for social equality, destroy its own chances of education? Why would such a mob destroy local businesses, livelihoods, and put people’s lives in danger?
As the rioters have spread fear and fire throughout the city, they have accidentally achieved something very rare in society: unification. A city which has always been so sharply divided between rich and poor, educated and not, those who have and those who want, now stands unshakably together in its hatred for the rioters and frustration at the police, who must regain control of this city by tonight.
On a positive note, the local derby football match between Nottingham Forest and Notts County went ahead as planned. All the crowd were very well-behaved and there were no violent incidents. It’s good to see that the football hooligans are on our side.