Riots x


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In an introductory approach, riot is described as the form of civil disorder whereby groups of people go on streets causing public disturbance against property, authority or people. Typically, riots involve form of vandalism or destruction of public or private property. The targeted property during riots differs depending on the situation and inclination of the rioters that are involved. For instance, targets of riots can include cars, shops, state-owned institutions, restaurants and religious buildings.

It is imperative important to note that riots usually may occur in order to air a grievance, or “out of dissent”. Going back in history, riots have been occurring owing to poor living and working conditions, governmental oppression, conscription, taxation, ethnicity conflicts, pogrom, or sectarian violence. Even if the riot may be in control of some individuals, it typically consists of disorganized gangs that are often violence and chaotic. Nevertheless, some people have strongly rebutted the suggestions that riots are violence, irrational or “herd-like behavior”, instead, they adhere to some social norms. For instance, in his food study riot among “colliers”, T.S. Ashton was quoted saying that “the turbulence of the colliers is, of course, to be accounted for by something more elementary than politics: it was instinctive reaction of virility to hunger”. Another one, Wilson Charles, opined that,

“Spasmodic rises in food prices had provoked keelmen on the Tyne to riot in 1709, tin miners to plunder granaries at Falmouth in 1727”.

however, in contemporary world, rioters have understood the forms of tactics that are often typically used by police during riots. For instance, today, successful manual rioting have become available on the internet sites where rioters can exchange encouraging tips and even attract involvement of press as there is more attention and safety with rolling cameras. In addition, video cameras also contribute to bring effect on both police and rioters. Police officers often have hard time dealing with rioters. However, they often use CS gas or tear gas to contain the rioters. However, the police ca result to using “less-than-lethal’ techniques of control including shortguns that usually fire “flexible baton rounds” to deliberate incapacitate or injure for easier arrest of the rioters.

There are various forms of riots as discussed here below.

i) Police riot – it is a term that is used to describe unlawful and disproportionate use of physical force or violence by the police against civilians. However, the term is usually used in describing attack of the police to peaceful demonstrators or even provoking then to violence.

ii) Prison riot – it s temporary, large-scale act that is deemed as concerted disordered and defiance as carried out by prisoners against prison authorities. This type of riot is done as a way of expressing grievances, cause change or as an attempt of escape.

iii) Race riot – in this kind of riot, ethnicity or race is major contributory factor. Race riot term had already entered into United States’ English language by the 1880s. it often referred to those riots that were mostly characterized by mob action involving members of particular racial group against other race.

iv) Religious riot – religion is major factor behind religious riot. In this case, the rioting people involve in targeting individuals and properties of particular religious group.

v) Student riots – they precipitated by university students, for instance, during the 19603 and -70s, most of riots were involving university students and they were mostly political in nature.

Effects of riots

The political and economic effects of riots are arguably complex, however, destruction of property and harming of individuals in measurable immediacy. For instance, during the “1992 Los Angeles riots”, over 2,300 individuals were severely injured with more than 9,000 being arrested. In addition, 50 people were being killed with over 600 businesses burned. Over $1 billion, property was damaged. Further, most of the people who were killed were either being shot by the National Guard or police forces. Similarly, during the “2005 civil unrest in France” more than 20,000 vehicles were destroyed with over 200 buildings being burned. In this riot, more than 20,000 were arrested and over 120 firefighters and police were injured.

Many political and government systems have been shut down owing to riots including “Ancien Regime”, “Tsarist Russia”, and Middle East and North Africa governments.

In conclusion, apparently, the police often contain riots, even if methods differ from region to region. In this case, the weapons and tactics used include water cannons, rubber bullets, attack dogs, pepper sprays, snatch squads and flexible baton rounds. It is noteworthy that riots have been rampant issues in our contemporary chaotic society. However, riot is perceived as a form of social movement that is used purposefully for individuals to articulate their grievances .


After the riots: The final report of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel. Riots Communities and Victims Panel, 2012.

Button, J. W. (2015). Black Violence: Political impact of the 1960’s riots. Princeton University Press.

Badiou, A., & Elliott, G. (2012). The rebirth of history: Times of riots and uprisings. Verso Books.


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