A couple weeks ago, I blogged about the madness of a few cops in Pennsylvania caught on video. This post is about the madness of football fans and the riots that erupted in Manchester last Wednesday. The city was hosting the UEFA Cup final and had set up television screens around the city center for the benefit of huge numbers of football fans arriving without tickets. Reports indicate that when the main screen (set up to provide live coverage to 10,000 people) failed to work 15 minutes before the game, people — predominantly male, many “inebriated beyond the point of reason” — began throwing bottles and cans. Technicians attempted to fix the technical problem, but were pelted with bottles and cans by angry fans and had to withdraw. Rioting and looting ensued. The violence escalated when riot police arrived.
Deputy Dog’s post yesterday shows horrific footage of mobs chasing after and attacking the police. Footage from CCTV is also on BBCNews: very disturbing as it clearly shows one officer getting taken down and beaten by a swarm. 15 police officers were injured. Shockingly and fortunately, none were killed. UEFA general secretary David Taylor condemned the rioting and said the Manchester authorities responded quickly, but simply did not anticipate the massive influx of people.
The pointlessness of this violence is terrifying. Sadly, it will likely lead to greater police presence and heightened preemptive restrictions on public gatherings. Already, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said: “We want to look at the powers the police have to be able to control the use of alcohol in public places. I think we also have to look at how the message is sent to people for the future … that if you want to come to a city where you don’t have a ticket, you should think twice about that.”