The rioting has brought a different kind of people out onto the streets, other than the rioters. Volunteers are using social media networks to organise mass clear-up operations – and show solidarity in the face of the threat from those bent on violence.
In Clapham in south London they came armed with brooms and cleaning materials. The cost of the damage from the rioting has been estimated at “tens of millions of pounds”, according to insurance experts.
“People felt very powerless last night and I think that feeling of powerlessness (explains) some of what they want to do this morning,” said one young woman. “Helping in the clear-up is about addressing that.”
“There are more people here for the clean-up than there were rioters last night that cause this sort of damage,” said another young woman, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘I Love Clapham’. “And I think that’s really important because the problem with the rioters is that more numbers are needed to tell them you can’t behave like this.”
One account on Twitter co-ordinating clean-up efforts attracted more than 18,000 followers in a matter of hours. Similar operations have taken place in other English cities such as Bristol.