London Riots: A teenager’s view

by Courtney Dionne Carr aged 13

I’ve lived in Tottenham for as long as I can remember. I’m devastated at what has happened. I know that Tottenham wasn’t a place for saints, but I really didn’t expect this. My baby brother is two and, to be honest, I’d rather him not grow up here. Hasn’t our society learnt from the Broadwater Farm riot?

I couldn’t sleep because I could hear police helicopters hovering over my area. I could hear people running about, even laughing: laughing! If this was in the name of Mark Duggan or justice for him, why would you be having a good time? I was scared, I honestly was. These people are destroying their own community.

We don’t have a very good relationship with the police. We need to improve this. Copycat criminals went to Brixton, Islington, Enfield, Walthamstow and Wood Green, among other areas. Why did this need to turn into such a big catastrophe? Why are we so determined to destroy the sources of income that we have left in this recession?

Imagine looking at your home and feeling the anguish because your home has been destroyed. My friend’s grandma’s flat was filled with smoke. Where can she go now? Look what has happened – innocent lives wrecked, destroyed, people with children and no homes. I didn’t know Mark but, if you knew Mark, do you think he would have wanted this?


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Upset

I’m upset because this has happened but I also think that the police are partly to blame. The way they handled the situation was not good and whether they are guilty of the murder of Mark, I don’t know. But the protesters should not have made the situation worse by erupting with outbursts of violence. They won’t take you seriously if you behave like this.

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Even Mark’s family did not condone what has happened and they even said: “this was not in the name of Mark”.

I think that the people who have done this have not thought of the effect that this has had on Mark’s family and friends. In fact, members of Mark’s family and friends said that they did not recognise any of the people there. What is this doing to his kids?

The Allied Carpets building has been there since the 1920’s. It had a lot of historical value and what these people have done – there is no excuse. I understand that they wanted answers and that they felt that the police committed an unforgivable crime but come on – this event has just made the police even more determined not to give them the answers that they so desperately want!

Fear

My friend, Sephora lives opposite Allied Carpets but thank God her flat wasn’t touched. She was really scared. Why should she have to live in fear? Why should any of us have to live in fear? Many people would be surprised that we could live in an area that is mainly dominated by gangs, drugs and knife crime but the terrible truth is that we are used to it. Get to where you’re going, don’t look into people’s faces, don’t be rude and you’ll be all right. Every day, when I walk on the street and I walk past a group of dodgy looking guys, it doesn’t mean that I’m not scared or nervous. It’s just that you learn to avoid these situations. It’s a common culture to hear that this person has been stabbed here; this person has been shot there. There have been murders on my road.

Tottenham was never a brilliant place but no matter what happened we still had a sense of community and Tottenham High Road and Tottenham Hale were two places were I could hang out. Now there might as well be no Tottenham.

The High Road is the focal point. Now it’s destroyed because a group of opportunists and troublemakers decided to use a local man’s name as an excuse to steal, commit arson and use this as a chance to make money. This is the result: a scarred Tottenham.

Please for Mark’s family’s sake, don’t let this go on. If you’re involved, think about the effect it will have on you too.

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