The thing about police tip offs, is that they are confidential, so we will never know if the police were really tipped off, or if the presence of a large group of young Black people congregated was intimidating and caused alarm to some.
I saw first hand as a friend and I attempted to navigate our way through the streets returning from Stoke Newington at around 11.20pm last night. What I saw was a blocked of section of Seven Sisters Road between Green lanes and Woodberry Grove. Approx. 15 police vehicles, countless police office in full riot gear, dog units and a helicopter whirling loudly above. I didn’t witness any violence and don’t know if there was any, somewhere else. Most of the young people appeared to be trying to get away from the area or just wanted to watch the action.
So it didn’t come as a surprise this morning to see some referring to last nights raucousness as “riot” even a “mini riot”. Odd, because last weekends melee in Shoreditch which targeted the Cereal Killer Cafe, was dubbed “a protest” by many, including the Guardian and BBC. This despite the “anti gentrification” protesters being very hostile, violent to the point of causing criminal damage to property and injuring a police officer. I didn’t see this from the kids last night, but as usual, it appears skin colour distorts the media and the general publics view, during incidents like last nights.
I could have hung around, but I had two dogs at home, who had been on their own for 4 1/2 hours and needed to be let out. By the time I returned to the scene just after midnight, it was a done deal. It was over, calm had been restored to Manor House. No one was hurt nor was criminal damage caused. So why the heavy-handedness? Maybe I just answered my own question? But I have my doubts, since police presence can sometimes ignite a stable situation, taking it from zero to full-scale disorder in just a few seconds. According to police there were 3 arrests for public order offences. No knives, guns or drugs.
But wait, this is nothing new. The same thing occurred back in August, when another group of young people gathered to hang out and have fun on a Saturday night, somewhere close to Bethune Road in Stamford Hill. Again it was labeled a riot. Just like last night, it also came to a peaceful end with no injuries or damages to property.