Aftermath of Brixton riots, 1981
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Brixton riots: Archive

The riots which broke out in Brixton, south London in 1981 were the first serious riots of the 20th century that the Metropolitan Police dealt with.

On 10 April, a policeman tried to assist a young black man who turned out to have been stabbed.

A crowd of local people gathered, bricks and bottles were hurled at the policeman, and at further police cars which arrived to assist.

This began a weekend of violence and destruction, directed mainly at the police, with whom many were unhappy as a result of their stop and search policies in the area.

This BBC archive footage shows the aftermath of the first day of rioting.

  • 10 Apr 2011
  • From the section UK