In the Media

Victims' voices: 'I knew they were going to move on to me next and they did'

PUBLISHED December 7, 2011

Margaret Asare's London Eye Opticians in Hackney was attacked by the rioters

You felt bullied and you felt under siege. Why couldn't we have had a warning about what the day could be? The couple that started off causing trouble could have been rounded up and put into vans. That would have stopped it. But it seemed to myself that [the police] were not allowed to react.

You didn't have time to prepare. You had no warning and no presence of authority. You were left to your own devices.

A mob of people set upon the man [from Boots, next door] ... I was frightened ... I didn't know whether these people had knives or bricks to smash your head open with and then I knew they were going to move on to me next and they did.

They started kicking at the glass. At that point it just felt: "Just walk away from it, just walk away." You felt totally out of control of [the] situation. You build up your business, you know you have your stock, your money, your whole livelihood invested, everything ... And then you just have to walk away and let someone just smash it up.

[When I came back] the place was totally smashed. Glass totally smashed, shop just left open, bare, unprotected, again, no cordon off by the police. Nothing was left. Nothing.

In terms of business we lost trade. But personally it seriously affects me. I try not to think about it but you get upset when you hear about it. You get upset when you read about it. You get upset when you talk about it, you get upset when you have to figure out what went wrong.

People say it will never happen again, but that is ridiculous because you haven't dealt with it. It wasn't like aliens from out of space or a terrorist attack. It was a bunch of kids in hoodies. I almost sounds pathetic. What happens when there is a real danger? I don't feel there's anything in place to protect us from even a bunch of idiots. And that's the lesson that needs to be learnt. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds