Riots Continue in London, Stabbing Near Bobover Shul


london-riotsBritish police clashed with rioting youths in a third day of unrest sparked by a police shooting last week. Groups of young people attacked police and broke into shops today after some of the worst rioting over the weekend in London in years. The latest violence began when police tried to carry out a stop-and-search operation.

British authorities say at least 215 people have been arrested in the city and around 35 police officers injured – including three hit by a car while trying to make arrests in northeast London.

The frum community in Stamford Hill has watched the events with caution, with askanim urging all kehillah members to stay away from the rioting and exercise judgment when going out in the streets. Several stabbings have been reported, including one near the Bobover Shul.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the violence and theft as “needless,” “opportunistic” and “completely unacceptable.” Home Secretary Theresa May condemned the riots as “sheer criminality.”

The violence broke out after the death of a local 29-year-old man in a police shooting in London’s depressed Tottenham neighborhood on Thursday. Two days later, a peaceful demonstration held to mark his death turned violent by Saturday evening, with protesters throwing stones at police, smashing store windows and setting fire to cars. Several buildings and a double-decker bus also were set ablaze.

Police said the violence spread to other parts of the city Sunday night and early today in what they called “copycat criminality.”

But analysts say last week’s death in Tottenham was a trigger for what is already a volatile situation, with government austerity measures aimed at reducing Britain’s debt taking a toll at the local level.

Some residents say the riots were spurred by anger over the gloomy economic situation in north London, specifically high unemployment and reduced public services.

Tottenham is home to a large number of ethnic minorities and has a history of racial tensions.

In 1985, a police officer was hacked to death there when Afro-Caribbean youths in a deprived housing estate went on a rampage.

The following report appears in The Jewish Chronicle:

Tottenham’s Chasidic residents turned out to watch the weekend’s riots on their way home from synagogue, but retreated after warnings from rabbis.

A warning was sent out to the Stamford Hill community via strictly Orthodox security service Shomrim, from Rabbi Efraim Padwa.

He said: “We have been advised by the local police to warn all members of the community not to be present in any shape or form in the areas surrounding the current riots, as being seen in the vicinity can have a negative effect. May a blessing reach to all those honouring this request.”

Witnesses said that no -one from the Jewish community was involved in rioting but around 25 mostly young men turned out at the south end of the High Road to watch the chaos after midnight. Groups were also seen watch ing looting on Tottenham’s Broad Lane.

A YouTube video showed some young, strictly Orthodox men handing out challah to passing residents from a cardboard box.

Rabbi Chanoch Kesselman of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said as far as he knew, no Jewish businesses or synagogues had been reported damaged.

He said: “People were staying away, by and large. A few youngsters went to see what was going on, some live not far away and some have businesses in the area. There’s been no injuries and most of the youngsters watching were told by the rabbonim to stay away, and then they did.

“There’s been reports in Israel and the US that we’re cowering in our homes, afraid to go out. But life is carrying on as normal, everyone is still going out, going to shul in Stamford Hill and Tottenham.”

{VOA News/Noam Newscenter}