The London riots hit Clapham and Clapham hits back with #riotcleanup
Here's my experience of the 3rd night of rioting in London and how we mobilised in Clapham Junction to help clean up the mess as one united community.
- On Monday night, people began to gather in Clapham. It didn't take long for looting to start and carried on for hours before police arrived. Videos started appearing and it was hard to believe that was only a few streets away
- I ventured out onto Lavender Hill just after midnight (don't tell my mom!) - as I was 15 minutes up the road, I thought it would be clear of people but part of me also wanted to make sure the family run shops were OK. The closer I got to Lavender Hill the scarier it felt. I could hear the sirens first and then I saw 15-20 people in pulled up hoodies and masks on the corner at the end of my road. People were walking down the road with stolen goods and others were trying to safely get home.
- Shortly after I got home I tweeted this...
- I sent it out to each Facebook group as it began and when @riotcleanup was set up (such a brilliant initiative and so very very helpful to us all! Great work guys!), I let them know the plans for Clapham which they tweeted out to their followers. Morning hit and I wasn't sure if anyone would come. People could be talking about it but would they really come?I walked down the road with my broom in hand. Nearing Nandos, I couldn't see anyone and I thought - more Twitter chat but no action. But wait a minute...I rounded the corner and there were at least 30 - 40 people also armed with brooms. Hoorah!We moved to St Johns Hill so not to disturb traffic and the numbers continued to grow as the day went on. The time to start the clean-up kept being pushed back as the forensics teams did their work. A team of us started helping organize the volunteers, with James being the main spokesman to relay info to the crowd (he does have a booming voice!) As the police drove by our growing numbers we clapped.
Sainsburys and Costa were on hand to give out what food and drink they could and others dropped off bags and gloves. Unfortunately, took some time until we could clean but everyone was patient and lovely and kind to each other. And united.
- At three, we began to move and waited on a side street.
- Everyone was there to take back the streets. So far there's been great coverage of the clean-up. It's nice to see the positive side to our community and social networks in the media instead of the negativity we've been seeing in recent days.
I'm glad to have been a small part of it and I hope everyone keeps giving as much as they gave today to continue to rebuild our community and all of those throughout London.
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