Riot-hit East End shopkeepers call for tough punishment for looters

Shopkeepers hit by the riots must have compensation if they are to stay in business, traders in London’s East End have told their MP.

They also want looters caught and punished following the orgy of violence last Monday.

That was the message to Rushanara Ali who toured shops after the rioting—before Parliament was recalled on Thursday.

“They want proper law enforcement and the looters to be brought to justice,” she said at an East End press conference today.

“Many don’t have the right insurance to cover acts of riot, but they should get financial help. They are the small businesses that serve the community.”

The Bethnal Green & Bow MP has joined other London MPs calling on the government to make funds available for those in danger of losing their livelihoods.

She used last Thursday’s emergency Commons debate to press the Prime Minister on what measures he would take in light of the riots to “prevent further disturbance”—such as the march by the Far Right English Defence League through the East End planned next month.

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“We are now faced with the threat of the EDL coming to my constituency on September 3,” she told Mr Cameron.

“Despite requests to the police and the Home Secretary before these riots, we have no conformation that there will be a ban.”

The Prime Minister responded saying the local authority and police had to apply to the Home Office for a ban.

But the mayor and Tower Hamlets council have already sought a Home Office ban on the EDL march and have had talks with the Met’s borough commander.

The MP has called for a halt to the 20 per cent cuts to the police—fearing the Met might not cope if another summer of rioting erupted next year when the Olympics are staged in East London.

“The public and the world must have confidence that the Met can keep London safe next year,” she added. “It must have the back-up it needs to be able to police London.”

Meanwhile, an online petition by anti-fascist campaigners to keep the EDL out of the East End on September 3 has now reached 21,000, the MP has learned.