Tottenham riot: "I saw police cars on fire"
- 7 August 2011
- From the section UK
Emergency crews remain on the streets of Tottenham, north London, after overnight rioting saw police attacked and buildings and vehicles set alight.
Tottenham residents spoke to the BBC News website about the riots and described what they saw.
Anonymous local resident: "I saw police cars on fire"
I was at a peaceful protest where the parents of the man who was killed were calling for a senior police officer to listen to the complaints from the community.
People were there because they felt ignored and they wanted answers.
Then there was then a stand-off. People started to get very angry. I then saw police cars on fire.
I also saw shop windows broken and people looting stuff like bottles of drink, nappies, and even microwaves.
In this day and age there is not much that can shock, but what's been happening here has been really shocking. In the space of 48 hours, the community has reached this point.
All the warning signs were there but nothing was done.
Adam: "I grabbed my son and we ran to the police"
I was at Saturday evening's football game at Tottenham Hotspur with my six-year-old son. We stayed behind after the game to get a few autographs.
We left the ground around 20:00 and headed down the high road towards Seven Sisters tube station.
We walked as far as McDonalds where we stopped to use the toilet. As soon as we left we got mixed up in an altercation between a large group and a minicab.
The cab was stopped in the road and ordered by the group to turn around. It quickly became apparent that we were surrounded.
After a few more yards I noticed a police car with all the windows smashed. I realised that we had to move quickly.
I could see a long row of police around 100 yards away. By this time the high road was blocked off and we had to head towards the police.
Within seconds the police car with no windows was heading towards us - at speed - it was then bombarded with missiles and a hammer.
I grabbed my son and we ran to the police line, a few officers came forward for cover, and then the police car was petrol bombed.
We then made our way to the station and safety. I don't wish to know what might have happened had we been there 60 seconds later.
Sam: "People are looting"
Last night a crowd broke into the post office and another crowd smashed through into Iceland. Everybody was going in and helping themselves.
A big armoured police van drove down Bruce Grove and into the high street, but everyone started throwing things at it and it did a u-turn and drove away again.
I tried to take photos from my house, but some people among the crowds shouted at me to stop taking pictures. Their faces were covered but they were of different ethnicities.
I was outside last night but decided to go back indoors. I didn't go out again.
Asif: "I locked myself indoors"
I am a resident of Tottenham Hale, near to the retail park.
This morning I saw scores and scores of people running down my street with TV sets, computers and laptops.
Items were dropping and breaking as they went along.
People had TVs in trolleys and they littered the streets with electronic packaging.
It has been a really stressful night. There were looters everywhere and I couldn't see a single police car in my street or surrounding areas.
Matt: "It was so unsafe"
Matt spoke to the BBC late on Saturday evening. Here he describes what he saw on the streets of Tottenham.
"People were filling large bins with fire and wheeling them into the police officers. They were throwing bottles filled with fire and a bus was set on fire as well.
"There was a terrible smell around too - it smelt toxic.
"It was just so unsafe, people were not there for a laugh, it was very tense.
"The police were just standing there, taking all the violence head-on.
"I went home because I heard rumours that people were getting beaten up and I locked myself indoors.
"I did go out briefly to check on a mate's car. It was only ten steps away but they were the scariest steps I have made."
Anna: "The fire was very high and scary"
I live in Bruce Grove, just off Tottenham High Road.
Early on, there were a lot of residents looking at the fires on the high road, but no one was aggressive.
However, later we saw very young people throwing bricks at the windows and trying to set fire to shops. The fire was very high and scary.
It seemed like the fire was out of control and we could not guess whether it would continue. It wasn't safe.
We also saw people with shopping trolleys full of food and alcohol.
For about three hours we felt vulnerable, there was no one to help if we were attacked, the police were all on the other side of the road.