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Newsblog: 5-12 August

12/08/2011

The UK news was dominated this week the UK riots, which saw severe public disorder and chaos spread across the country. The riots appeared to be sparked by the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in London on August 4. The three days of rioting saw London and many other areas of the country gripped in fear as shops were looted, stores and homes set alight and violent assaults take place. Over 1,000 arrests have been made and 600 persons charged for the incidents in London alone. The areas of London which suffered the greatest riots were Tottenham, Croyden and Hackney.

Col Gaddafi, the Libyan president currently facing an uprising in his country, has called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to step down following the “violent repression” of “peaceful protestors.” The UK is currently engaged in Nato-led campaign in Libya to topple the government of Col Gaddafi, engaged because of Gaddafi’s severe crackdown on protestors earlier this year. Iran also urged David Cameron to “exercise restraint” against protestors and asked for independent human rights organizations to investigate the killing of Mark Duggan.

Amid continuous negative media attention, after Norway shooter Anders Breivik was linked to their group, the English Defense League have seemingly tried to improve their reputation. The group stated it had sixty of its members on the ground in Eltham on Tuesday trying to assist police in containing the violence calling their members ‘patriots’, not vigilantes. Anti-gang patrols launched by community groups feared that certain far-right groups would try and take advantage of the tension. The groups, armed with everything from baseball bats to fire extinguishers also attempted to prevent violence in some of the harder hit areas of London.

A feature in The Guardian this week offers a unique insight into the life of a former member of the BNP and National Front. Mattew Collins, who is now an anti-fascist campaigner with the group Searchlight, discusses the violent life-style that was associated with his past and his eventual rejection of the groups and move to reform himself. Collins also analyses the effect that the Norway massacre had on far-right groups within the UK, and also the threat that these groups, such as the English Defense League, pose and the community efforts that should be made to address them.