UK must prepare for riots as anger grows over coronavirus restrictions, government adviser said

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Britain must be prepared for widespread riots this summer, said a government adviser, warning the poorest people and the regions most affected by the fallout from the coronavirus.

Police and government are urged to prepare now for the risk of “serious public unrest” at the scale of the 2011 riots – particularly if restrictions on freedoms are to be re-imposed.

Professor Clifford Stott predicted a tinderbox based on a combination of inequality, anger at the police, enforcement becoming “fairly impossible” and persistent anger at the Dominic Cummings case.

The problems would be exacerbated if “local locks” imposed stricter rules on people living in the poorest areas than in wealthy neighborhoods, said the member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage).

“If the police are not investing in building positive police-community relationships now, there is a risk of serious and significant public unrest this summer,” warned Professor Stott.

“I think that in the worst case, it is not inconceivable that we can have troubles on a scale equivalent to August 2011.

“There are significant inequality issues that could, if not dealt with properly, fuel a situation in the future during the summer months when confrontations develop.”

Professor Stott described the idea of ​​local closings as “very, very problematic”, a few days after the mayors of the northwest – the region where they were presumably considered – declared them inapplicable.

And he warned that the implementation of the existing restrictions was already “fairly impossible now to a large extent”, after the Black Lives Matter protests were authorized despite an alleged ban on walking.

Noting the police that there was pressure to suppress town hall rallies, the science advisor said, “I think it could create a situation where many young men think it is unfair to them.

“And where the police are trying to enforce this injustice, it could create a breakdown in social cohesion, leading to a feeling of injustice in policing. We know that these factors are often drivers of social conflict. ”

And, on the locking breach of Mr. Johnson’s help, he added, “The loss of confidence that was brought about by the Cummings affair did not help maintain that buy-in, I think it was quite clear. “

In August 2011, riots swept across England – and five people died – in protests sparked by the shooting of Mark Duggan in north London.

In the days that followed, unrest spread to Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

Calling on the authorities to be ready, Professor Stott told the Palestinian Authority news agency, “What we need to do is make sure we start tackling the underlying causes now so that conditions that led to the 2011 riots are not in place if we get a precipitating incident.

“Simply put, the most effective thing the police can do is put the bobbies on the beat. “

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