Beyond Contagion

Brixton riot 2011

The Brixton riot began on the evening of Sunday 7th August, the day after the rioting in Tottenham. There were police fears about potential confrontation at Splash, an annual one-day music festival celebrating African-Caribbean culture attended by thousands of people, which took place in the afternoon. Police resources were therefore deployed into Brixton. Splash was scheduled to finish at 7.00pm. At 6.30pm three police officers were injured while intervening in an altercation with youths. Police support units were then deployed to the area to support local officers. Several people tweeted that a “mini-riot” occurred at this time, followed by reports of police in “riot gear” 15 minutes later, with police cars and “riot vans” arriving on the hour. By 9.30pm, police described the town centre as "fine", but between 10.00 and 11.30pm, up to 200 people began attacking police near a local housing estate. Small groups also attacked and damaged local shops in an apparent attempt to provoke the police to respond. After a series of confrontations, police were forced to retreat. Shortly after this, the focus of the crowd shifted from the police to the town centre. Participants targeted high-street properties, and there was extensive looting and some arson of high-end shops. The behaviour of the crowd appeared to be coordinated, with rioters helping each other to take goods. Police reinforcements arrived hours after the start of the rioting, which began to peter out from about 2.00am.

The full triangulated account for Brixton can be found here.