Viral videos swirl through London

Mike Krumboltz
The Upshot

The riots that began in London following the death of Mark Duggan, continue to spread across England, sparking both fear and outrage. Fueling the strong responses are viral videos from eyewitnesses. Some show specific acts of violence. Others focus on responses to the causes of the unrest.

Perhaps the buzziest video involves an injured man on the street. A group of men approach the dazed man, and at first it looks like they are going to help him. But then the group begins going through his backpack, stealing items.

The injured man was later identified as Asyraf Haziq, a 20-year-old Malaysian student. He is currently being treated at a London hospital for a broken jaw and damaged teeth. According to the U.K. Guardian, Haziq was on his way to buy groceries when he was attacked.

You can see the video below, but please note that it may disturb some viewers.

Other videos are even more violent. One clip shows police in Manchester chasing and then beating alleged rioters on the night of Aug. 9. Police have admitted that they've been overwhelmed by the "unprecedented levels of violence and criminality." This is just one of many videos from the Manchester riots.

Not all the viral videos feature acts of violence. One of the buzziest clips features a man, Darcus Howe, being interviewed by the BBC. Howe speaks about the police response to the riots and how authorities are going after young black men without cause.

The interview leads to a confrontation when the BBC broadcaster infers that Howe may have taken part in the riots. Howe responds: "I have never taken part in a single riot. I've been part of demonstrations that have ended up in a conflict. Have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, and stop accusing me of being a rioter. [...] You just sound idiotic."

The riots have, of course, been covered by professional journalists, some of whom are finding themselves caught up in the violence themselves. In one case, a CNN reporter had bottles thrown at him by rioters. In another, a reporter was punched in the face and had his camera stolen. The Cutline's Joe Pompeo summarizes the attacks.

The violence has also been well documented through photographs. On Flickr, thousands of photos have been uploaded, many of which feature things far more disturbing than just broken glass. Photos of the London riots focus on burning buildings, massive looting, and police doing their best to control the chaos.

Finally, a time-lapse video of the riots in Tottenham, shot by Prokopi Constantinou, may bring the scope of the riots into perspective. Day turns to night, which turns back into  day. All the while, the fires keep burning.