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London Riots in Social Media

I’ve been loosely keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s been going on over the last few days. So far I’ve seen some interesting facets of society emerge during the London riots:

[![](https://antisp.in/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/6025113047_a2d50b5e611.jpg "Cleanup")](http://antisp.in/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/6025113047_a2d50b5e611.jpg)
Riot Cleanup
Today I want to bring to you a couple of the ones that I have found extremely interesting.
PennyRed posted [a great thought piece](http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html?spref=fb) on the rioting – my favourite section is this:
> In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything: > > *“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”* > > *“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”* > > *Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’* > > There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Go read more here. Really worth it.

The second piece I came across is this one on Prison Planet and it’s much more disturbing. It paints a much darker picture behind the rioting. The implication is that the government deliberately let this get out of hand in order to introduce tougher legislation against protesting in general.

…police were ordered to “stand and observe” even as brazen acts of violent crime were committed against both people and private property, a directive which prevented them from arresting any of the troublemakers.

Which has in turn led to a drastic shift in public opinion:
> Britain’s most widely-read newspaper *The Sun* [ran a poll today](http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3743390/Use-LIVE-bullets-say-33-in-Sun-poll.html) which found that two thirds of Brits support the use of rubber bullets to deal with rioters, while 33 per cent supported the use of live bullets. > > “Curfews are backed by 82 per cent, using tear gas got 78 per cent support and Tasers 72 per cent,” states the report.
We will need to keep a ***very*** careful eye on the developments that come as a result of this because this will give the government cause and support for some rather scary alterations to legislation.
Finally, [here is a great piece](http://mindhacks.com/2011/08/10/riot-psychology/ "Riot Psychology") on crowd psychology that my friend Alda linked to me just now
>
…the social identity of people in a group is fluid and changes according to the relationship with other groups.
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