London riots: Boris Johnson faces angry business owners
- 9 August 2011
- From the section UK Politics
Angry business owners in south London confronted mayor Boris Johnson about a night of violence which saw shops smashed up and burned.
He faced people in Clapham Junction wanting to know what he planned to do to improve the police response.
He condemned rioters and - brandishing a broom - thanked those volunteering to clear up the scene.
The mayor was on holiday when trouble began on Saturday but cut it short when rioting spread across London.
He visited Clapham Junction in south London - one of several areas in London hit by violence and looting over the past few days - alongside Home Secretary Theresa May on Tuesday.
The mayor said that those responsible for criminality would "face punishments they will badly regret" but as he began his walkabout, a number of business owners expressed anger about what had happened and the police response - and demanded to know what he would do about it.
One asked whether he should have cancelled his holiday earlier, one woman shouted that he should resign while another man questioned the police response to Mark Duggan's death - the Tottenham man shot dead by police last week, which prompted initial violence in Tottenham, north London.
But most complained about insufficient police officers at the scene and demanded to know what changes would be made to avoid a fourth successive night of disorder in London. One woman asked him: "You talk about robust policing - what does that actually mean?"
One hairdresser told him she was working in her salon on Monday evening "when a brick came through the window and no one was here to defend me".
Mr Johnson struggled to get his voice heard above the noise of the crowd, telling them he was "very sorry for the loss you have suffered". He told them: "Tonight we are going to have a huge number of police on the streets."
Others thanked him for coming and later the mayor got big cheers from a separate crowd as he brandished a broom and thanked those volunteers who had arrived to help clear up the mess as representing the real "spirit of London".
He also visited Croydon - scene of the worst fires on Monday - where he told residents he was "sorry" that there had been damage done, and said he would do all he could to make sure it never happened again.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also faced some boos and shouts of "too late" as he got into his car at the end of a walkabout in Birmingham city centre.
He told reporters: "I spent 15 minutes walking around, I spoke to lots of shoppers, lots of residents, I'm never going to apologise for getting out there and speaking to people and talking to the victims of this needless violence, destruction and thieving, the shopkeepers - I spoke to many of them before some troublemakers turned up and then of course I followed the advice of the police."
He urged parents to keep their children at home, rather than let them out on the streets at night, and urged people to back the police and work together to ensure the violence of the previous few days "doesn't happen again".