It’s half 12 and there are sirens outside in south Liverpool. Linda McDermott has just played Spandau Ballet’s True on Radio Merseyside and Liverpool is heading back to the early 80s in more ways than one.

Twitter and Facebook have been awash with rumours all night that riots are breaking out on Smithdown Road, Lodge Lane, Lawrence Road and Parliament Street.

As far as we can tell absolutely nothing is going on – there’s even a video of a quiet Smithdown Road shot by a resident at 10pm. The Liverpool Echo tweets a calming message that nothing untoward is happening.

Still the rumours persist. Something is definitely going around Smithdown, according to friends on Facebook. A bus attacked? Gangs of youths? The Asda supermarket on fire?

Then rumours that Lodge Lane is closed. And then a dread moment when a BBC traffic report shows that Lodge Lane is closed between Smithdown and Croxteth Road. So, something is going on.

Then images on Twitter, blurry snaps of large gangs of youths congregating near the Newstead Abbey pub on Smithdown, a line of bins pulled across the road.

It’s a part of Toxteth and Wavertree recently flattened by bulldozers to make way for new housing. It’s always been a deprived area of town and it’s perhaps half a mile away from the flashpoints of the 1981 Toxteth riots.

A few minutes later another images shows what look like bins on fire in the middle of Smithdown Road.

Then a friend who works for the BBC puts out a Facebook message that appears to confirm that cars have been set alight on Lawrence Road.

This is another one of Smithdown Road riots. Police cars are ... on Twitpic

More images of blocked off roads, the blues of the emergency services. A video on Youtube appears to show a large gang attacking riot police in Liverpool, but it turns out not to be in Liverpool at all.

The crowds are headed towards town, presumably right past the intersection of Princes Avenue, Upper Parliament Street and Catharine Street where the Rialto was burned to the ground 30 years ago.

Back then it was about police brutality, harassment, disaffection. Today… what? Just kids? Mindless thuggery?

The police helicopter is heard overhead. A friend texts at 1am to say there’s ‘serious rioting’ going on on Smithdown Road and riot police are battling ‘kids’ near Myrtle Parade in town.

That’s near the house of Ben Schofield, formerly of the Liverpool Echo, who tweets that his car has been set alight along with others on Grove Street, near the University of Liverpool in Toxteth.

There are more conflicting reports on Twitter but a friend texts to say that cars are on fire on Lodge Lane.

The Liverpool Echo puts out a tweet confirming that 150 people are rioting in Liverpool.

Just a few weeks ago we went to see the Toxteth 1981 exhibition at the Slavery Museum. The pictures looked like a different age. “Despite their familiarity,” we said, “they feel alien.”

Well, not any more. As of tonight Liverpool will have a whole host of new images to conjure with.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

• Last two images by Ben Schofield

• Final image by WMEvans

20 Responses to “Riots return to Liverpool”

  1. I hate these people with a passion. What are they rioting for? Because they saw on TV that other people were getting away with it and they’re knuckle draggers who love violence – that’s why.

    As far as I am concerned anyone who apologises or tries to make excuses for them is just as bad, and everyone has a duty to each other to make sure the police know of anyone who has done this.

  2. Guy just been on Radio Merseyside, saying how his daughter’s car was ambushed around Tesco’s Wavertree Road, the kids in car where covered in shattered glass and where hit in face with bricks and one of the lads was set about with baseball bats.Why? what on earth have these kids done to them to be set upon in such a terrible way. His wife had to go and collect their cut and bloody child. Makes me feel physically sick!

  3. Some of these people are saying it’s the government’s fault – maybe they should go live in Syria or Sudan – get out the water cannon and rubber bullets – oh, just heard, we don’t have any. N. Ireland, can we have our gear back please?

  4. Ronnie de Ramper

    Many similarities here with 1981. But not the politics.

    In 1981, the riot on the Saturday night trashed Upper Parliament St, burnt the Rialto, and led to the use of tear gas. Mostly (but not exclusivel) black youth involved. A small amount of looting took place from a grocery shop by the Rialto. Reason for riot? Police harassment; discrimination etc

    But the next night, Sunday, Lodge Lane was trashed and burned. Widespread looting by mainly white people, many driving into the area for that purpose.

    And on Monday evening, I remember driving into town along Park Road at 7.00pm through crowds of young kids and older youths, white entirely. Returning later, the small shopping parade at the top of the hill before the descent towards Aigburth Rd was ablaze. Reason for riot? More opportunistic looting. Simple.

    So three nights of rioting. But only one night of political ‘just cause’

  5. There is a reason behind everything since this goverment came into power our coutry has been going down hill.
    What there doing is wrong in every way but i believe its because of a jobless society these jobless youths are frustrated.
    They see all these people on television and the internet with lots of money and things and there is no way they will have these things, they have seen these riots and people looting and see it as a way of getting things.
    It shouldn’t happen but it has and it needs to be addressed and this goverment is failing everyone.

  6. No way!!! We cannot blame the government for this one! I’m not havin it!! These ‘jobless youths’ are jobless because they can’t be bothered gettin off their lazy backsides to do a decent days work!
    I left my job after having a baby (to be a stay at home mum) and when I decided to return to work, it took me almost a year of filling out application forms, sending out C.V’s and going through the nerve racking procedure of countless interviews before I finally landed a job. During this time, did it ever cross my mind to go out and start a riot so that I could loot for free goods??? Of course it never!! And why is this?? It’s because I have been brought up properly that’s why! It’s so easy to blame the government, but it’s a parents job to teach their children right from wrong. These youths have no respect for anyone or anything because they’ve never been taught to do so.

  7. We all hate the tories, but we live in a democratic society, and people LET them in: I’m sure most of this venomous, lazy, drugged scum who rioted didn’t bother to vote. The state of the nation isn’t to blame, as there are people going through much worse in other parts of the world who don’t riot and make life a misery for their fellow citzens.

    I just wish the police had more guts and actually cracked a few skulls.

  8. The scary thing is that these kids who are out setting things on fire and smashing windows are the adults of the future .GOD HELP US!!!!
    They know the police cant do anything coz most of them will be under 16.Do parents these days not want to know were there kids are?!!!!

  9. fenn motts

    Maybe not all children have had the same snobby upbringing you have had louise!! This country needs a kick up the arse!! we have stupid fuel costs, council tax, working tax, road tax, not to mention all the insurances that you have to take out by law!!! ok i dont condole the wrecking of hard working brittish peoples shops and business and setting fire to cars at all but then i dont blame them either i blame the goverment!!

  10. I watched the amenities in my community burn on that Sunday night, Monday morning July 1981. Park Road, Toxteth as a community never recovered.
    Boris Johnson’s comment on BBC regarding the rioters having no political motive for their actions, was complete folly. Thieves do not usually have a political motive.
    People who constantly have their rights removed will eventually hit out, Toxteth 1981.
    There are always riots when a Tory government is in control! Tories make the common citizen angry and full of despair , this displeasure then trickles down to the mindless who attack.

  11. Too easy to ”Blame” A government or any other faction. But the sad reality is that the majority of these “kids” are born of parents that are probably poorly raised and poorly educated themselves and do not know what their offspring are doing, or even care.
    Like attracts like and these youngsters will have children of their own and so the cycle continues.
    It sounds cynical I know but If there is blame to be laid then it must be to the seriously floored social system that has been in place for many years in many countries. There is no quick fix.

  12. Ldy Munro

    The blame lies with the government. People up and down the country have had enough of every political party that has come to power taking full advantage of hard working English. We do nothing but pay taxes upon taxes. We have the worst life style in Europe, with too much being taken away by the Government. “Looting, destroying people’s property and livelihood, and attacking police and fire forces is wrong. These rioters unfortunately don’t have the brains to understand what this should be all about”.

  13. Ldy Munro

    Terry, this riot would have happened regardless of who was in power. Believe me, labour would have had it coming too. What a shame they got out before their astounding incompetence could also
    be fully exposed!

  14. There is no excuse for individuals who distroy others property and looting. No matter what government party is in power. Individuals need to pull up their boot straps and go out and do something constructive. To many excuses. It goes back to respecting each other. We all live on this planet and it is only as good as we make it. Shameful what has happened around Britain and Liverpool.

  15. Fenn… I never had a ‘snobby’ upbringing at all. My dad worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and put food on the table, while my mum was a housewife doing her very best to bring me and my brother up the right way. We lived in one of the more deprived areas of the city and it could have been so easy for either one of us to get in with the wrong crowd….

    Anyways, everyone seems to be missing the point- these scumbags are not making some sort of political protest- they have simply seen the rioters in London getting away with outrageous behaviour and have decided to jump on the bandwagon!! That is all. Nothing more, nothing less.

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