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Tuesday 9 August 2011

Riots hit Manchester

A fourth night of riots witnesses the first significant disorder in Manchester, which so far as can be gleaned from current reports, is following the opportunistic pattern of wanton vandalism and attempted looting witnessed in many other urban locations. Channel 4 News reports that Miss Selfridges on Market Street in Manchester city centre has been set alight and the police are advising people to stay out of the area. Let’s hope that this act of arson so early in the evening does not presage a turbulent night to come. This district was of course regenerated in the wake of a massive IRA bomb planted in Corporation Street in 1996, and it would be tragic if the people of Manchester should once again be compelled to pick up the pieces following another destructive act aimed at the heart of their city. 

The Daily Mirror also reports that several hundred riot police have clashed with hooded 'youths' in Piccadilly Gardens. Other reports state that arsonists have hit a community centre in Salford and that there have been 'skirmishes' between police and approximately 20 'youths', and the Metro claims that rioters have been attempting to break into the Arndale Centre and smashing shop windows across the city centre. A later update from the Mirror claimed that up to 2,000 'thugs' had taken to the streets of Manchester, which by any reckoning is a disturbingly high number. Shops ransacked included Bang and Olufsen, Diesel and High and Mighty.

The Daily Telegraph remarks upon the tender age of a number of those involved, with some as young as 9, 10 and 11 taken to the streets with scarves drawn across their faces or wearing balaclavas. These children, it claims, have been used by organised crimincal gangs as lookouts during their looting spree. 

The video below features a BBC report on events in the city this evening. 

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