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Tottenham rebuilds after riots but where are the jobs?

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Tottenham rebuilds after riots but where are the jobs?


Broken windows above a boarded-up shop are a poignant reminder of the riots that hit London and spread to other English cities a year ago.

Today Britain’s Olympic success has transformed the national mood from despair to jubilation.

But just a few kilometres from the Olympic Stadium, the scars from the violence remain.

Tottenham is where the riots began. Shops, businesses and restaurants have reopened – but what else has changed?

“We have seen lots more police officers on the streets of Tottenham,” said the owner of a Turkish restaurant. “I agree with that, but nothing other than (that from) last year has changed. People are on very low incomes in this area. They don’t have jobs, they really don’t do anything with their life. That’s why they put themselves on the streets and they do illegal stuff on the streets.”

Those streets in north London erupted last August after a local man was shot dead by police.

The area had seen rioting before. This time the sight of well-known local landmarks such as the Allied Carpets store engulfed in flames became a defining image of the violence.

Today the 1930s building has gone. It is to be rebuilt in the same style. Local people have worked hard to install a sense of pride in the area.

“Oh it’s calmed down a lot. It’s building up, slowly but surely,” said a woman resident, indicating a drawing showing the plans for the new building on a panel behind her. “You know, as you can see there are pictures of what it’s going to look like. So it looks like it’s going to be a lot better.”

A year on, the local council has plans to redevelop town centres and build thousands of new homes.

Teenagers from one church group feel responsible enough for the riots to have printed the word “sorry” on the front of their blue T-shirts, even though they were not involved in the troubles

But others are more concerned with issues such as police-community relations and above all, a lack of jobs.

There is no major employer, and small and medium-sized businesses offer few opportunities.

Our correspondent in London Ali Sheikholeslami said:

“One year on since the London riots, there are some signs of improvement in Tottenham, where it all began. But for this community, employment remains a significant challenge.”

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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