As riots broke out in many parts of London and other cities across the country last night, a community group at the epicentre of the crisis put out a statement condemning the violence and calling for an immediate return to peace and order in Tottenham.
The violence first erupted on Saturday, after an earlier peaceful demonstration had taken place in protest at the shooting by police of local man, Mark Duggan, three days earlier.
Sister Eugenia from St Ignatius Church, Co-Chair of Haringey Citizens writes: Haringey Citizens is an alliance of diverse civil-society institutions including Alexandra Park School, Highgate Wood School, Highway of Holiness Church, North London Progressive Jewish Community, Rainbow Church, St Ignatius Church and St Ignatius College. We are part of Citizens UK, a national broad-based alliance of schools, colleges, universities, churches, mosques, synagogues, trade unions, social enterprises and community groups, which has been doing community organising in Britain for 22 years. Our aim is to work together for the common good in our communities.
Community leaders across Haringey are united in calling for peace and justice. We acknowledge the social problems we face as a community, but do not condone the burning of homes, the looting of local businesses, nor the destruction of the heart of our neighbourhood. This has not led to the betterment of Haringey and it is not the right response to our frustrations around the lack of jobs, poverty or opportunities for our young people.
In the short term, we call for an end to the violence and looting. Tonight, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with other community leaders at the Vigil of Hope at High Cross in Tottenham.
In the long term, we aim to continue our work in building accountable relationships with people, local institutions, the police, politicians and local businesses. In the last three months we conducted a listening campaign to identify issues of common concern. Local people want to tackle street safety, build community relationships and address the lack of job opportunities in the borough. We are now in the middle of a summer of research actions, breaking down these priorities into specific issues that we can campaign around. On November 29th we will launch our public agenda with the rest of North London Citizens at our Annual Assembly and continue to use community organising to create a better Haringey in the years to come.
The Anglican Bishop of Edmonton, Rt Revd Peter Wheatley said: "These events cannot be allowed to define the Tottenham we know and love. Many of us have worked in this community for many years and we know the loving, generous and openhearted people with whom we share our daily lives are not the rioters who have destroyed so much. What has happened will not conquer the hope which is set before us. We will continue to share that hope with our neighbours and friends as we move to rebuild in Tottenham.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected, including those who have been made homeless and local business owners whose livelihoods have been threatened. Together, our churches already run a multitude of activities supporting all members of the community, irrespective of their faith, and these efforts will be continued and where possible extended."
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