Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Evening; Getting Home in the Birmingham Riots

I got into New Street Station at 7:19pm - trains were running perfectly on schedule.  In Liverpool, all the jewellery shops I saw had removed their stock from the windows, and several places mentioned that they were closing early that evening.  However, shops in Lime Street Station were open, and expected to close at their usual times.

It was very different in New Street.  Everything was on lockdown.  Absolutely everything, including the escalators to the Palisades.  So, instead, I went out of the ground floor exit, near the Bullring.  The path up to the bull was closed - by one lonely policeman who was being sworn at - so I carried on down Moor Street.

See that figure in the lower right, with the backpack?  Yeah, fairly certain that's me.  I found this image on the Birmingham Riots Tumbler.

I needed to be in Five Ways, but all of New Street and Corporation Street were closed.  There was also a fire starting in the grassy bit on the corner of Moor Street, but I stamped that out.  Don't think it helped much.

I walked past Aston Uni, and managed to get onto the other side of Corporation Street.  Headed down the side of Lloyds House, but veered off into the side streets after that, rather than run into a group of people wearing balaclavas.  I ran into another group of officers in the Jewellery Quarter - which was guarded, with all the shops closed, but not actually closed off.  They advised me to get a taxi home, and to avoid the new Tesco in Ladywood, as there was a large gang surrounding it.

I did, and ended up near Dudley Road hospital, where I could see smoke over the buildings, presumably from the cars on fire in Winson Green.  Most of the shops along here were open, though.  After that, it was mostly a case of cutting through Summerfield Park and the Edgbaston Reservoir, which were both refreshingly normal, and full of runners and dog-walkers.

I'm now hearing reports that Paradise Forum has been wrecked, along with Broad Street.  Still hoping that VEGed Out Cafe, in Fletcher's Walk, is okay.

Edit; Just heard that a friend of mine was attacked near Five Ways. If the roads hadn't been closed, or if I'd turned right instead of left from New Street, that's where I would have been.

I'm also hearing that there are guns in Aston and Lozells, and that groups of young Asians are fighting back against the looters. I hope everyone's okay. Someone in my class in primary school, Aaron James, was shot in the Lozells race riots five years ago, and we don't need anything like that to happen again.

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