The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people. Homeless LGBT youth and anti-LGBT violence while police officers look away are not issues that are unique to the United States. The United Kingdom endures similar problems, and if the young rioters can convey their message that they can no longer stand for such unstable economic situations and a corrupt police force, the LGBT people – especially LGBT people of color – who are disproportionately struggling against those same issues will benefit. Could a similar uprising in the United States happen? We’re facing many of the same issues – our financial instability, our power-hungry representatives, and our system that rewards wealth instead of representing the interests of the American people. After last month’s debt ceiling disaster, where huge amounts of time were spent on silly, gridlocked debate only to end up with a horrible plan that will hurt the poor while continuing to reward the rich, some of those enormous structural flaws in our system were put on an immensely visible platform. But the poor continue to be ignored. They’re certainly not helped along any by our media, which hardly ever discusses the problems facing people in poverty or pressures the government to do something about it. Even when those issues to get airtime, they’re flattened by overpaid television anchors who repeat the “lazy homeless” rhetoric as fact.
British MP Calls For BlackBerry Messenger Suspension To Calm UK Riots
The Vancouver Sun reports:
A British lawmaker called on Tuesday for BlackBerry’s instant messaging service to be suspended after rioters used it to mobilise in London and other British cities. David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where London’s worst riots for decades began on Saturday, appealed on Twitter and on BBC radio for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to suspend BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). “This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force,” he tweeted. “BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can’t access it.” The riots, in which shops are being looted and cars and buildings set ablaze, spread to Britain’s second-largest city Birmingham and other centres. Politicians and police are blaming the violence on criminals and hooligans but some commentators and local residents say its roots lie in anger over economic hardship in a city where the prospects for many youths are dim. Many of the rioters favour BlackBerry Messenger over Twitter and other social media because its messages are encrypted and private, but the service is widely used and messages can easily be sent to groups. Research In Motion said in a statement on Monday: “As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials.” The company declined to say whether it was handing over chat logs or user details to police. Research In Motion’s Inside BlackBerry blog was hacked on Tuesday by a group going by the name of Teampoison. The group posted a warning to the company not to cooperate with police. “You Will -NOT- assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all,” the statement said. “If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g - Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. - now if u assist the police, we -WILL- make this information public and pass it onto rioters,” it said.
Birmingham’s gay village was shut down yesterday due to widespread looting and fires. ZONE Magazine reports:
The London riots have spread beyond the capital to Birmingham, including the Gay Village. Popular gay bars Missing, The Loft Lounge, Equator, Purple Bar and The Angel Bar were all closed on the advice of police at around 9pm last night. The police have confirmed that at least 35 arrests have already been made. The Birmingham Hippodrome theatre, which is located on the edge of the gay village in the Southside area of Birmingham, was on a ‘lockdown’ with up to 2,000 theatre-goers locked inside watching We Will Rock You. Following the performance, police escorted patrons to the safety of their cars in the Arcadian Centre.
There was widespread looting in the city centre, including the Armani shop in The Mailbox. Kevin Breese, General Manager of Birmingham’s Harvey Nichols shop, confirmed that the ajacent Armani shop has been completely looted. ‘They were very well organised youths, with wirecutters and concrete blocks,’ he said. West Midlands Police continued to tackle the disorder occurring in Birmingham last night. Several premises were attacked, with some shop windows smashed and property stolen in various locations in the centre, as well as some surrounding areas.
Hit the above link for live updates on the situation.
If only Orwell was alive to see this, he would have finally loosen up and written a comedy sequel to 1984. And who would blame him. What else can you do after seeing how ineffective all that CCTV machinery is. When I lived in London, I almost managed to convince myself it’s the safest city in the world. After looking at the riot reports from the last 3 days, I can finally say I am rock solid certain it’s true. You may think I am being ironic, or even sarcastic. I’m not. London is fucking safe. Just look at the targets of the supposed “riots” – the occasional car, the shop next door. You don’t see people attacking police stations or the parliament, no. Rightfully or not, these are targets reserved for frustrated and angry people who actually want a social change. Like the people in Egypt. Or the people in Eastern Europe in the last century. I still remember the siege of the Bulgarian Parliament in the winter of 1997. The alleged protesters in London are nothing alike. Their biggest priority is obviously setting buses and buildings on fire, then using the chaos as a cover to break the windows of the nearest Tesco and steal 10 pints of milk, several cucumbers, a dozen of frozen chickens and prefabricated pizza. The more educated “indignados” seem to go for the occasional large screen TV or a laptop. In the meantime the police is missing, which is pretty interesting. My guess is they watch all the mess on their CCTV-enabled TVs and bet on their favorite teams. Because honestly – what could probably happen. Some kids will be arrested, the prime minister will hold a speech and the whole British society, along with the news reporters, will gasp and stutter for a month. The newspapers will overflow with analyses of the ever-insecure British soul. Luckily, after a month someone from the royal family will combine a pink hat with an orange purse and everybody will return to the usual desensitized everyday routine of bitching about imaginary problems. Until next summer when the weather will be nice enough again to start a new riot. Because honestly, who goes out for a protest when it’s raining?
British Prime Minister David Cameron Reacts To The London Riots
The New York Times reports:
Speaking outside his office and residence at 10 Downing Street, Mr. Cameron said lawmakers would be called back from their summer recess for one day on Thursday and the number of police on the streets would be increased to 16,000 on Wednesday night from 6,000 on Tuesday. He said the authorities would “do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets.” “This is criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and defeated,” Mr. Cameron said. He said the violence had produced “sickening scenes” and that the country needed “even more robust police action” to confront the unrest. There would be “many more arrests in the days to come,” he said. Mr. Cameron’s comments came after violence also erupted overnight in several other cities, including Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol, as well as in three towns in the county of Kent, southeast of the capital. An enormous fire consumed a large warehouse of Sony electrical goods in the Enfield section of London after an equally ferocious blaze ripped through a furniture store in Croydon.
After hosting an unapproved gay pride demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia, 14 LGBT activists were attacked by antigay protestors and then jailed by Russian police, along with some of their alleged assailants.
The demonstration took place beside a monument to city founder Peter the Great, according to Yuri Gavrikov, head of the Equality group, “because Peter the Great founded a city with European values.”
Among those taken into custody was Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia’s most high-profile gay rights activist and the founder of the GayRussia website, who tweeted from the police station that there are “14 lgbt activists in police station. Two were beaten, Alexey Kiselev by police inside station and Alexander Sheremetyev by homophobe [sic].”
Alexeyev added that while those arrested would most likely end up in court, “We will not surrender!”
If found guilty, the activists could face up to 15 days in prison.
“I’ve seen a lot of things in six years of holding such events in Moscow, but I’ve never seen such cynicism in St. Petersburg,” the AP quotes Alexeyev as saying. Read more here.
In the age of Facebook and Twitter, it was only a matter of time before the world learned the identities of the kissing couple from that now-iconic photo of the Vancouver riots. About 24 hours after photos of the smooch was passed on through emails, IMs and blog posts, the Toronto Star and the CBC are reporting that the boyfriend and girlfriend in the photograph are Aussie bartender Scott Jones and Canadian college student Alex Thomas, who was injured just before the picture was taken. The papers report that Jones and Thomas have been dating since Jones arrived in Vancouver on a “working holiday.” They attended Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which the hometown Canucks lost 4-0 to the Boston Bruins, and then somehow found themselves between the angry rioters and charging riot police later that night in downtown Vancouver. The famous aftermath, as captured by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam. So how were Jones and Thomas ultimately identified as the unlikely “make love, not war” couple of Vancouver’s embarrassing night of injury and destruction? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Facebook was involved. Though Scott’s sister Hannah first identified her brother to an Australian news network, things really started taking off when Brett Jones, Scott’s father, posted the following update on his Facebook profile on Friday morning from the family’s home in Perth, Australia. Brett Jones now says the couple is being besieged by media requests from outlets around the world. All, of course, are interested in knowing the circumstances that found the couple smooching as cars were burned and windows were smashed around them. But despite some of our initial assumptions, the kiss seen ‘round the world wasn’t the product of a riot-fueled, uncontrollable passion. Brett Jones instead notes that Thomas was injured and his son was coming to her aid. An alternate angle taken from above shows other bystanders later attempting to help Thomas and Jones. Combine that different angle with Brett Jones’ story and it certainly dispels the rumors that the couple had intentionally staged the photo.
“They were between the riot police and the rioters, and the riot police were actually charging forward, and Alex got knocked by a [police] shield and fell to the ground,” Brett Jones told CBC News. “[Scott] was comforting her and gave her a kiss to say, ‘It’s going to be OK,’ and the photographer just took the shot at that moment.”
Jones’ mother Marie said she immediately knew it was her son in the picture because “he doesn’t have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing.” So where do they go from here? The good news is that Jones escaped the incident unhurt and Thomas only suffered a bruised leg. The bad news is that Jones is scheduled to leave Canada soon and head home for Australia after a trip to California. The Jones family says that Thomas plans to visit California with their son but that the couple’s future after that is uncertain. UPDATE: Jones and Thomas spoke with the Toronto Star:
Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around. “I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen,” said Thomas.
The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.
“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful.”
This so white trash. And I can tell ya that most of those people aren’t from downtown Vancouver. They must be from the suburbs. I’d say the city should block the entrance downtown by Skytrain and buses each time there’s playoffs.
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