POST YES BILLS Employees attached signs on boards that covered the smashed windows of a shop Thursday in Wolverhampton, England, to let customers know the store is open. Britain is considering measures on crowd control, gang membership and social media in a bid to prevent rioting that exploded across the country. (Photo: Andrew Winning / Reuters via the Wall St. Journal)
The idea of baseball-related combat has become so common in England that theater companies regularly call BaseballSoftballUK, the country’s development agency for the two sports, seeking bats for staged beatings. In addition, one of the organization’s female members was once singled out on a bus by a police officer who demanded that she produce a softball to prove that she wasn’t carrying her bat as a weapon.
I wondered about this, too.
Friends have told how they rescued Monika Konczyk from her smoke-filled flat in a moment that has become the defining image of the riots.
The terrified Polish woman, who only arrived in Britain in March, was shouting for help from her first-floor window as the fire that destroyed the neighbouring Reeves furniture store threatened to engulf adjacent buildings.
Apparently defying orders from police not to get any closer to the blaze, friends said they ran through thick smoke and intense heat to the Victorian terrace on Church Street and laid mattresses and pillows on the ground for her to land on.
Onlookers shouted “jump, jump” as Konczyk, 32, was coaxed out of the sash window, sliding down the awning of the discount store below and then jumping into the arms of a Romanian man called Adrian. Police in riot gear also moved in to help.”
Probably ten years old.
(Photo of a child making off with a bottle of wine looted from a store in Manchester yesterday by Bruce Adams / the Daily Mail)
PLEA Hundreds of messages of support from the community of Peckham are seen posted on a looted storefront in the south London district on August 10. The city was generally calmer Tuesday evening; police are investigating the deaths of three men in Birmingham who were struck by a vehicle while the men were trying to “defend their neighborhood.” (Photo: Chris Helgren / Reuters via MSNBC.com)
SWORDS INTO BROOMSTICKS Londoners walk with brooms en route to help clean up after rioting that took place the previous night outside Clapham Junction railway station in Battersea, London, Tuesday, Aug. 9. (Photo: Matt Dunham / AP via MSNBC.com)
While rioters reportedly use Blackberry Messenger to coordinate their unlawful activities, others in the community are taking to the Internet to help organize “riot cleanups.”
“I felt very panicky because we are not safe from either the rioters or police. We put all of our efforts into this shop. It took 20 years to get it like this. But we do not know about our rights. I’m scared that the police and the government will attack us if we defend our businesses. We are being squeezed between the two dangers.”
OWNER of the Turkish Food Market in north London, who was among many independent Turkish and Kurdish shop owners standing at the ready — some armed with baseball bats — for rioters that never came.
Photographer Amy Weston of the WENN Agency, who took what is probably the most iconic news picture to date of the London riots — a woman leaping from the window of a flat, toward the arms of persons below — tells the story of how she came upon the shot:
I was told there were fires in the Church Street area, near Surrey Street Market.
By the time I drove towards it, I could already see the fires from my windscreen.
There were six or seven people screaming and crying outside, and they looked like they lived at the flats that were burning. The flats were above small independent shops. A man in a white shirt was screaming that a girl was at the window and that she was ready to jump. He ran towards her but riot police had appeared and pulled him back, and they went to her instead.
As soon as she dropped, the crowds pushed back and there was no way to see what happened to her. I remember hearing people screaming that there were more people in the building. The crowds started getting angry with each other, with one group blaming another group for starting the fire.
There were warnings of gas cylinders being fired into the crowd from riot police so I got out of there. I couldn’t get to my car so I had to walk, wrapping my camera in my clothes to avoid being mugged.