Tuesday, August 09, 2011
It was only a minor skirmish, but a potentially bad sign for community relations. Police, who have flooded the streets, were quickly on the scene when about 70 men
started chasing local youths.
I wouldn't mention their ethnicity, but it seemed to be relevant. The men were white - in their 30s and 40s - and shouting that they wanted to get the "blacks" and "pakis". Lots of them seemed drunk. One man being held back by police shouted: "They're rats, they mugged my Auntie the other night."
Jay Bradley, 30, a witness, told me: "What happened here? What I just saw - everyone from this area aren't gonna have any looting.
What I saw was a couple of ethnic lads, if you can call them that, black lads, and they chased them away.
A lot of it is alcohol - I don't think the kids were doing anything. They were just on bikes and in masks.
But no-one around here is going to stand for any looting. What are we supposed to do. The Co-op is closed and we're running out of food."
Update: Given that there are lots of unsupported rumours flying about, I think it's important to add a couple of important qualifications to this post. A lot of the rumours going about are originating from the far right themselves - part of their propaganda about being men of action, etc. And some of them could result in people getting hurt. Naturally, I have no wish to contribute to either, so I'm just being cautious. First of all, I have heard conflicting things about the far right being involved in Enfield, but as yet no proof of this has emerged. It may well be just local racists. Guardian journalist Paul Lewis is being careful to say he only witnessed a brief skirmish (though, from the footage I've seen, it was a really nasty, scary event). Second, loads of people have been tweeting me to say it's not the EDL in Eltham. (There is some footage of what appear to be EDL being kettled there, but not the 400-strong mob that the casuals were bragging about). I'm still not okay with vigilantism, but there are degrees of danger. I'm not arguing for complacency. There are some real fascist efforts at stirring. Most of it has been kettled by the cops so far, however. So, I would bear these points in mind when you're scanning social media for updates.