UPDATE: The Premier League has announced that all matches this weekend are expected to go ahead except for Tottenham against Everton. Of course, this is subject to change based on what happens in England in the next 48 hours. “Acting on current information from the authorities there is no reason to believe that matches outside of London will be affected at this time,” said the Premier League statement.
England’s international friendly against the Netherlands on Wednesday has been cancelled due to civil unrest in England. In addition to that, four Carling Cup games have been postponed. And the fear now is that this weekend’s opening fixtures in the Premier League could be affected.
Sickening scenes of violence erupted in London on Saturday night and have continued through today, spreading throughout the capital city and into Birmingham and Liverpool. Looting has been widespread. Buildings have been set alight, and fear has gripped the country.
The riots began Saturday in protest against a young man who was shot and killed by police last Thursday. But the copycat violence, with young men wielding sticks and wearing hoodies, spread across London and into cities such as Bristol, around Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre and into Toxteth, outside Liverpool.
Earlier this week, the ticket office at White Hart Lane was vandalized after riots in the Tottenham area of London. As a result of the violence, Tottenham closed their Megastore and shut down their tours of White Hart Lane. The club has been in discussions with the authorities regarding this Saturday’s home match against Everton. No decision has been made yet whether to postpone the game.
As a British citizen, seeing the scenes of violence on television and the Internet is sickening and embarrassing. The disregard that these young hoodlums have for their own country and other citizens is awful. As the young men go through the streets, wrecking cars, smashing shop windows and burning down buildings, they’re ruining the lives of normal upstanding citizens who have worked hard to earn what they have.
Even Wayne Rooney was sickened by what he saw on television, commenting on Twitter that “These riots are nuts. Why would people do this to there [sic] own country [and] own city? This is embarrassing for our country. Stop please.”
Here’s raw video footage of some of the fires and riots in London. The fires, by the way, are the worst that London has seen since The Blitz, when German planes bombed London during World War II:
For selfish reasons, I hope the riots and fires stop so we can watch the Premier League on television this weekend. But for the people of the United Kingdom, I hope this civil disobedience ends so they don’t have to live in fear for their lives.
Thankfully the British police are responding in numbers and will flood London. But even if order is returned to London, it does make you wonder about the underbelly of the country, the youths who are out of work, focused on looting and generating violence. It’s a sad sight to see and a sad indication of where the country is heading.