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Vol. 75/No. 30      August 22, 2011

UK gov’t boosts cops as police
killing sparks street unrest
(front page)
LONDON—Capitalist politicians have seized on outbursts of anger following the cop killing of a 29-year-old man here by beefing up the police force.

On August 6 a protest at Tottenham police station in north London against the shooting of Mark Duggan escalated into scuffles with cops after accounts that officers had clubbed a 16-year-old girl spread, reported the Telegraph.

Duggan was shot twice August 4 after the taxi he was riding in was pulled over by cops from a special unit on gun crimes in the black community. Police at first said Duggan shot at them and an officer responded. But initial findings by the Independent Police Complaints Commission indicate that both bullets discharged at the scene appear to have been fired from police weapons, including one that apparently ricocheted and struck a radio worn by one of the cops.

On August 6 two police cars were set on fire, followed by looting of local businesses, according to press accounts. Over the following days street unrest escalated in areas of Greater London and other cities. Stores were ransacked and burnt down, homes destroyed, and vehicles torched. A police station was set ablaze in Handsworth, a district of Birmingham.

More than 700 had been arrested as of August 9, according to the BBC. Scotland Yard invoked special powers August 7 to stop and search residents in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Haringey, Enfield, and Waltham Forest. For the first time police deployed armored vehicles in the city and announced that they are prepared to use plastic bullets.

Politicians from the bourgeois parties responded with calls for heavier policing, curfews, and use of water cannons. The government readied one army unit for possible intervention. Prime Minister David Cameron increased cops on the city’s streets from the usual 2,500 to 16,000 by August 9. Former Labour Party mayor of London Kenneth Livingstone told the BBC that planned cuts in the Metropolitan Police should be reversed.
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