1981 Handsworth riots

The 1981 Handsworth riots were three days of rioting that took place in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England in July 1981.[1] The major outbreak of violence took place on the night of Friday 10/11 July, with smaller disturbances on the following two nights.[2]

The riots were characterised by the Scarman report into the 1981 riots in England as "copycat riots" – taking place after the Brixton riots in London, and around the same time as the Toxteth riots in Liverpool and the Moss Side riots in Manchester – though some have argued that this is an oversimplification.[1] The immediate flashpoint was an attack on a locally well-known Police Superintendent who was trying to calm rumours of an impending march by the right-wing National Front.[1] The following disturbances resulted in 121 arrests and 40 injuries to police officers, alongside widespread damage to property.[3]

Before the riots Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing, though local Black British youths later disputed the claim that relations between them and the police had been amicable: around 40% of them had been stopped and searched over the previous 12 months.[1] Handsworth had a mixed population of white, black and Asian residents, but surveys after the riots showed little evidence of significant racial tension.[3] A week before the riots, during the weekend that saw CS gas used against rioters for the first time on the British Mainland in Toxteth, Liverpool, a reporter from The Times had visited a festival in Handsworth Park and found "8,000 people, black and white" in "a spirit as amiable and peaceful as a rural village fete".[4] The most common reasons for the riots reported by participants were unemployment, boredom and the imitation of events elsewhere.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Waddington, David P. (1992). Contemporary issues in public disorder: a comparative and historical approach. London: Routledge. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-415-07913-6. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  2. ^ Southgate, Peter (1982). ""Abstract: Disturbances of July 1981 in Handsworth, Birmingham - A Survey of the Views and Experiences of Male Residents". In Field, Simon; Southgate, Peter. Public disorder: a review of research and a study in one inner city area. Home Office Research Studies. London: H.M.S.O. p. 42. ISBN 0-11-340767-X. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Abstract: Disturbances of July 1981 in Handsworth, Birmingham - A Survey of the Views and Experiences of Male Residents (From Public Disorder, P 41-73, 1982, by Simon Field and Peter Southgate)". National Criminal Justice Reference Service. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  4. ^ Osman, Arthur; Timmins, Nicholas; Tendler, Stewart. (6 July 1981). "3am: Residents begin Toxteth evacuation Police use CS gas after admitting riot is out of control". The Times. Times Newspapers. p. 1.
1981 Toxteth riots

The Toxteth riots of July 1981 were a civil disturbance in Toxteth, inner-city Liverpool, which arose in part from long-standing tensions between the local police and the black community. They followed the Brixton riots earlier that year.

1981 riots

1981 riots may refer to:

1981 England riots

1981 Brixton riot

1981 Handsworth riots

Hong Kong 1981 riots

1985 Handsworth riots

The second Handsworth riots took place in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, West Midlands, from 9 to 11 September 1985. The riots were reportedly sparked by the arrest of a man near the Acapulco Cafe, Lozells and a police raid on the Villa Cross public house in the same area. Hundreds of people attacked police and property, looting and smashing, even setting off fire bombs.

Handsworth had been the scene of a less serious riot four years earlier, when a wave of rioting hit over 30 other British towns and cities during the spring and summer of 1981.

Racial tension and friction between the police and the local ethnic minority communities was seen as a major factor in the riots. Handsworth had been predominantly populated by the black and Asian communities for around 30 years by 1985. Handsworth also had one of the highest unemployment rates in Birmingham.

Two brothers (Kassamali Moledina, 38, and his 44-year-old brother Amirali) were burnt to death in the post office that they ran. Two other people were unaccounted for, 35 others injured, more than 1500 police officers drafted into the area, about 45 shops looted and burnt, and a trail of damage running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. As well as racial tension, unemployment was seen as a major factor in the riots; by the time of the riots, fewer than 5% of the black population to have left school that summer had found employment.

The riots were the first of a series of similar riots across the country during the autumn of 1985, notably the Broadwater Farm riot in London which also resulted in a fatality (the murder of policeman Keith Blakelock). Filmmaker and artist Pogus Caesar extensively photographed the second Handsworth riot; it was also witnessed by Bronx graffiti artists Brim and Goldie, who documented the devastation in the Channel 4 documentary Bombing.

1991 Handsworth riots

The third Handsworth riot occurred on 2 September 1991 in Handsworth, an inner-city area of Birmingham, when a power cut plunged the area into darkness and sparked a looting spree in local shops. 200 police officers in riot gear were called in to bring the unrest under control. Hundreds of shops and houses were looted and cars were stolen. This occurred around the same time as rioting in Oxford, Dudley, Tyneside and Cardiff.

This was the third time in a decade that Handsworth had been the scene of major rioting, following a riot in 1981 and the worst wave of rioting in 1985, in which two people were killed. A fourth riot took place 14 years later.

2005 Birmingham riots

The Birmingham riots of 2005 occurred on two consecutive nights on Saturday 22 October and Sunday 23 October 2005 in the Lozells and Handsworth area of Birmingham, England. The riots were derived from ethnic tensions between the Caribbean and British Asian communities, with the spark for the riot being an alleged gang rape of a teenage black girl by a group of South Asian men. The rape allegation has never been substantiated. No evidence has been found to support the rumour nor has any victim come forward (further rumours asserted that this was because the victim was present in Britain unlawfully and feared deportation). The clashes involved groups of Caribbean and South Asian men committing serious acts of violence against various targets from both communities. The riots were connected to the deaths of two men, 23-year-old Isaiah Young-Sam and 18-year-old Aaron James.

Death of Keith Blakelock

Keith Henry Blakelock was a London Metropolitan Police constable who was murdered on 6 October 1985 during rioting at the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham, north London. The trouble broke out after a local black woman died of heart failure during a police search of her home, and took place against a backdrop of unrest in several English cities and a breakdown of relations between the police and black communities.PC Blakelock had been assigned on the night of his death to Serial 502, a unit of 11 constables and one sergeant dispatched to protect firefighters. When the rioters forced the officers back, Blakelock stumbled and fell. Surrounded by a mob of around 50 people, he received over 40 injuries inflicted by machetes or similar, and was found with a six-inch-long knife in his neck, buried up to the hilt. He was the third officer to be killed in a riot in the London area since 1833, when PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death in Clerkenwell.Detectives came under enormous pressure to find those responsible, amid tabloid coverage that was sometimes openly racist. Faced with a lack of forensic evidence—because for several hours it had not been possible to secure the crime scene—the police arrested 359 people, interviewed most of them without lawyers, and laid charges based on untaped confessions. Three adults and three youths were charged with the murder; the adults, Winston Silcott, Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite (the "Tottenham Three"), were convicted in 1987. A widely supported campaign arose to overturn the convictions, which were quashed in 1991 when forensic tests cast doubt on the authenticity of detectives' notes from an interview in which Silcott appeared to incriminate himself. Two detectives were charged in 1992 with perverting the course of justice and were acquitted in 1994.Police re-opened the murder inquiry in 1992 and again in 2003. Ten men were arrested in 2010 on suspicion of murder, and in 2013 one of them, Nicholas Jacobs, became the seventh person to be charged with Blakelock's murder, based largely on evidence gathered during the 1992 inquiry. He was found not guilty in April 2014.Blakelock and the other constables of Serial 502 were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for bravery in 1988. Their sergeant, David Pengelly, who—armed only with a shield and truncheon—placed himself in front of the crowd in an effort to save Blakelock and another officer, received the George Medal, awarded for acts of great bravery.

Ely and Littleport riots of 1816

The Ely and Littleport riots of 1816, also known as the Ely riots or Littleport riots, occurred between 22 and 24 May 1816 in Littleport, Cambridgeshire. The riots were caused by high unemployment and rising grain costs, much like the general unrest which spread throughout England following the Napoleonic Wars.

The Littleport riot broke out when a group of residents met at The Globe Inn. Fuelled by alcohol, they left the inn and began intimidating wealthier Littleport residents, demanding money and destroying property. The riot spread to Ely where magistrates attempted to calm the protests by ordering poor relief and fixing a minimum wage; see printed bill (reproduced at right). The following day, encouraged by Lord Liverpool's government, a militia of the citizens of Ely, led by Sir Henry Bate Dudley and backed by the 1st The Royal Dragoons, rounded up the rioters. In the ensuing altercation at The George and Dragon in Littleport, a trooper was injured, one rioter was killed, and at least one went on the run.

Edward Christian, brother of Fletcher Christian, had been appointed Chief Justice of the Isle of Ely in 1800 by the Bishop of Ely. As the Chief Justice, Christian was entitled to try the rioters alone. The government, in this case via the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, nevertheless appointed a Special Commission, consisting of Justice Abbott and Justice Burrough. The rioters were tried in the assizes at Ely during the week commencing June 1816. 23 men and one woman were condemned, of which five were subsequently hanged. General unrest and riots such as that at Littleport may have been a factor in the government passing the Vagrancy Act of 1824 and subsequently the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.

Handsworth riots

Handsworth, West Midlands, UK, has suffered several riots and is notorious for its high crime rates and ghettoised attitudes towards the area.

The Handsworth riots may refer to:

1981 Handsworth riots

1985 Handsworth riots

1991 Handsworth riots

2005 Birmingham riots

2011 UK riots

Kit de Waal

Mandy Theresa O'Loughlin (born 26 July 1960), known professionally as Kit de Waal, is a British/Irish writer. Her debut novel, My Name Is Leon, was published by Penguin Books in June 2016. After securing the publishing deal with Penguin, De Waal used some of her advance to set up the Kit de Waal Creative Writing Fellowship to help improve working-class representation in the arts. The audiobook version of My Name is Leon is voiced by Sir Lenny Henry. De Waal has also published several short stories.

List of riots

This is a chronological list of known riots.

Newlyn riots

The Newlyn riots occurred in Newlyn, Cornwall, UK in May 1896. Cornish fishermen did not believe in landing fish on a Sunday, so other fleets exploited their opportunity. Locals retaliated by seizing non-Cornish vessels and throwing their catch overboard. This led to three days of rioting, quelled only by the intervention of a naval destroyer.

Riot Act

The Riot Act 1714 (1 Geo.1 St.2 c.5) was an act of the Parliament of Great Britain which authorized local authorities to declare any group of 12 or more people to be unlawfully assembled and to disperse or face punitive action. The act's long title was "An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters", and it came into force on 1 August 1715. It was repealed in England and Wales by section 10(2) and Part III of Schedule 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967. Acts similar to the Riot Act passed into the laws of British colonies in Australia, Canada, and America, some of which remain today.

The phrase "read the Riot Act" has passed into common usage for a stern reprimand or warning of consequences.

Scarman Report

The Scarman report was commissioned by the UK Government following the 1981 Brixton riots. Lord Scarman was appointed by then Home Secretary William Whitelaw on 14 April 1981 (two days after the rioting ended) to hold the enquiry into the riots. The Scarman report was published on 25 November 1981.The terms of reference for the enquiry were "to inquire urgently into the serious disorder in Brixton on 10–12 April 1981 and to report, with the power to make recommendations".

Timeline of Birmingham history

This article is intended to show a timeline of events in the History of Birmingham, England, with a particular focus on the events, people or places that are covered in Wikipedia articles.

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