East End MP urges Tower Hamlets to unite against violence as riots break out in Hackney
PUBLISHED: 19:12 08 August 2011 | UPDATED: 12:10 09 August 2011
Tower Hamlets must stand united against the violent unrest sweeping across London, an East End MP has said as riots break out on the Hackney border.
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, urged the community to “stay vigilant” against violent “outside forces” wanting to stir up trouble as neighbouring Hackney came to a standstill.
Just over a mile from the Tower Hamlets border, rioters smashed up police cars and looted shops in a bitter stand-off against police.
At least three police cars on the busy junction of Mare Streets and Amhurst Road by Hackney Central station were ambushed by angry mobs who grabbed public bins, pieces of wood and bottles to cause as much destruction as possible.
The scenes, described as “mayhem” by passersby, came less than two days after the Tottenham riots spurred by the death of Mark Duggan who was shot by police during an attempted arrest on Thursday.
Ms Ali said: “The violence in Tottenham is completely unacceptable and shocking and it has put community relations back by 25 years.
“We all have to work together and be vigilant to make sure we uphold the strong relationship we have built up with youth groups, the community and the police.”
Her comments came as Hackney descended into violence.
Riot officers stormed south down Mare Street in an attempt to disperse the crowds, which included young families and elderly residents.
There were claims that a stop and search on a young man angered the crowd.
A 29-year-old mum of three who didn’t want to be named said: “I was at the bus stop with my kids and all of a sudden a group of people went and smashed JD Sports and looted it.
“I’m worried as I’ve got young kids and I don’t want them to go through this. People are coming here from other places. Anyone who feels afflicted by the police has come here.”
Buses coming from Bethnal Green were unable to get through the stretch of Mare Street around Hackney Central station as police vans, cars and riot officers cordoned off the area to try and contain the rioters.
Brixton in south London, Enfield in the north and Walthamstow further east have also been hit by riots.
The Metropolitan Police Service told the BBC that it is putting 30 per cent more officers on the streets of London tonight to tackle the violence.
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