London riots: 'Everyone was very fired up'

John Adderley in Peckham: "I could see a bus on fire"

Violence has broken out in London for the third consecutive day with shops, homes, buses and cars being set alight while widespread looting has taken place.

Peckham was hit by the unrest with a bus and shop set alight.

South London resident John Adderley was on a bus as violence erupted in the area. He said the person next to him stood up and said very loudly: "Peckham is on fire. They've started up down there."

"So everybody then raced to get off the bus. As I got off the bus there were a couple of girls attacking a guy - I don't know whether he had insulted them or something - and some other guy sprang to their aid. He had a mask on, actually. Everyone was very fired up and full of adrenalin," he said.

Mr Adderley said he then walked away as people were being attacked with bricks and pieces of wood out of a skip.

"There was a bus on fire and huge black clouds were coming out of the bus and people were racing away and everybody seemed quite terrified and fired up, people were becoming aggressive."

He added: "Everybody was terrified, if not terrified quizzical and afraid, as I walked up the road and looked at people they said 'What is going on?' I'm surprised it happened in Peckham because there is a fairly good community spirit."

'Mix of people'

Others caught up in the Peckham unrest described fearing for their lives as people struggled to get through to emergency services by phone and fireworks were thrown at police as they attempted to disperse a crowd.

Josephine Thomas, a 21-year-old student from Peckham, said: "You don't know if you are scared of the police or the people doing it."

She said some of the rioters were not from the area and "have just come here to cause trouble".

Start Quote

The kids aren't happy - they hate the police”

End Quote Matthew Yeoland Teacher

And a commuter from East Dulwich, who gave his name only as Jack, described the scene that confronted him and his fellow passengers when a bus he was travelling on stopped when confronted by a large group.

"There was loads of screaming and shouting," he said.

"I looked out of the window and there was a bunch of lads who were pushing a big industrial bin towards our bus. It crashed into the side and the window shattered.

"There were a few people crying. The driver didn't want to open the doors but a few people forced them open so they could get out."

He described getting out of the bus and seeing another bus on fire, as well as several people wearing motorbike helmets and ski masks who were causing a disturbance.

They were "smashing things and throwing bins in the road and laughing", he added.

Meanwhile, a teacher from the area attempted to explain the backdrop of resentment which he felt helped to explain the outburst of violence.

Matthew Yeoland, 43, said there had been "tension for a long time".

"The kids aren't happy. They hate the police," he said.

"For the kids, it's their only way of venting their anger. There were too many people and not enough police."

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