Sunday 7 August – two sides of Brixton

police helicopter using spotlight over riot scene
Police helicopter over Halfords and Currys in Effra Road

A festival by day and a riot by night. Brixton experienced two very different community events on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday morning. Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Road were lined with soundsystems from 12pm until 7pm for Brixton Splash, an annual street festival with a theme this year of ‘Community Champions’. And a good community mood prevailed, with crowds of people dancing, drinking and partying through the rain.

But at midnight, long after the Splash had ended, looting sparked by the riots in Tottenham began on Brixton Road. McDonalds, H&M and Morleys were all attacked and their windows smashed. Footlocker was heavily looted before being set on fire. It is now a mere shell of a building. The crowd – reportedly about 300 people – then moved to Currys, stealing widescreen TVs, computers and vacuum cleaners.

Many onlookers have reported a  slow response from the police in Brixton.

Emma Reynolds, interviewed by the BBC, said: “There were riot police near Brixton station, but there was no police presence in Effra Road for at least 40 minutes.”

See here for a map of the London riots as they unfold.

Below is a selection of photos from both Brixton Splash and the riot later. Although the two are not connected, I felt it important not to forget the positive community atmosphere at Splash before the looting started during the night.

Brixton Splash:

crowded street
A packed Coldharbour Lane

(Photo: Kaye Wiggins)

people eating food in street
Street food
Still selling Caribbean food
Atlantic Road

(Photo: Kaye Wiggins)


(Photo: Melissa Constantinou)

woman on chair in middle of road
Time for a break

(Photo: Melissa Constantinou)

And, from midnight, the rioting:

nighttime riot scene with police presence

Morleys boarded up, Monday:

boarded up shop
Morleys’ windows boarded up


burned-out shop
Foot Locker

Ritzy ‘open as usual’:

old fashioned cinema
Ritzy message board

And not so usual – Kači Peringer describes her photo: “Huge stack of Metros still outside the station at 8pm shows what a ghost town Brixton was today after the riots. Normally all gone by 8am!”

stack of newspapers

(Photo: Kači Peringer)

smashed window of a McDonalds