After seeing the pictures of the blatant looting and rioting in London, text messages, BB Messenger pings and emails flew round claiming that tings were gonna kick off in Birmingham City Centre at 6pm that evening. When I read da ting, I rar just laughed and said “Birmingham cud ‘never’ gwarn suh!” – But I was proved very very wrong!
Groups of young people started clashing wid feds from around 5pm. The ramp was covered with police as they prevented them going into the Pallasades (a shopping centre). The yutes then decided to head off in other directs giving the police the run around. As they moved from location to location they smashed windows and looted shops. They targeted phone shops and sports shops. They broke into the rear of the bullring and cleaned out JD Sports. T-Mobile got nyamed, Orange got emptied and while they were robbing the Orange shop on New Street a team of approx. 30 police officers popped the corner and nabbed everyone inside. At first there was a stand-off between the police and the people in the shop, the peeps inside fled through the shop and got out the back – but the police nabbed a couple of young people – They rar look about the age of 12!
As darkness began to fall on the city centre, there was suddenly a tension that was no longer about looting, running joke and getting as much as you could to make some money – it seemed to change to an anger and people were starting to get robbed and mugged. I saw awoman get her bag took and a man get mashed down and robbed on Colmore Row. Da yutes ran off wid whatever they took.
Race of rioters
There is a lot of talk that the gangs are made up of all young Black kids out to make a quick change (money). As Supatrax photographed we witnessed the groups were made up of white, afro-Caribbean, African, Somali and Indians . . . This wasn't an issue of race – It was an issue of blatant greed! The young people were just out to get what they could after seeing that the groups of people were allowed to get away with it in London.
The police have been criticized for their stand off approach – in some cases, in London, people were walking past police officers with 50 inch TVs rar! And the police stood by and watch. The police usually act very robustly and mash down anyone dat trys to get bright – but during these riots they seems to have stood back an allowed certain things to happen and escalate. Was it because they were fraid iof getting buss at? Or was there another agenda?
The violence spread to Handsworth and groups of people started an attack on Holyhead police station at the top of Handsworth. Flames spread throughout the station. People then went through Soho Rd breaking into shops, smashing windows, attacking Barclays Bank, electrical stores, Lloyds TSB and burning out cars and stores.
Supatrax landed on Handsworth at approx. midnight. As we drove up Grove Lane we were met by about 100 peeps hooded up, ballyed up and mashing down a car. They were turning da car over and smashing it up! We circled onto Rookery rd and went to parked up on Soho Rd were there was another car lying in it’s roof. Tings were jus raw in Handsworth – Everyone had a bally on and no one could be recognised. Shop keepers had parked big vans in front of their shops to stop them being looted.
We returned to Grove lane and the same car that was being attacked earlier was no on flames and exploding. Cars were left burnt out up and down Soho Road. On Nineveh Rd we heard what we thought were gunshot – but when we got nearer we realised it was a car exploding as it was in a ball of flames.
Police were seen walking through Handsworth with maps! Officers had been drafted in from Staffordshire, West Mercia, Coventry and other areas. How was police from other areas supposed to compete with people that lived and grew in the areas of the riots?
Why mash up your own community?
But not all the people looting were from the Handsworth area. People had been told about the disturbances and headed to Handsworth hoping to make a raise from the number of electrical shops. Some people we spoke to came from Kings Norton and as far as Walsall.
On the streets were large groups of Sikhs (Asians with Turburns for you ignorant people). I spoke to a group of about 30 guys who were all out on street with their Kirpans (steel swords /daggers) ready to be drawn. A Kirpan is one of the five Ks of the Sikh religion, that if drawn MUST draw blood before returning to it’s case.
I spoke to some guys who said they were out to protect their Gudwaras (tenmples) from being attacked. Through Handswortha and Smethwick there were approx. 50 Sikhs outside every Gudwara in the ends. One of the younger guys said:
“We don’t give a shit about the businesses, we can claim that money back – but if anyone f**ks with the temples – we will KILL them!
If idiots want to robs stops or mash up their community that’s up to them, but to disrespect a place of worship id wrong! And we are just making sure that it don’t happen – We are protecting out place of worship and standing up for our religion”