On Thursday 22nd April, a riot broke out 2 minutes from where I live in Stoke’s Croft, Bristol, after the attempted eviction of a squat on Cheltenham Road. There were helicopters and riot police and it culminated in both police and civilians being injured and a newly-opened Tesco branch (which was the focus of a diverse campaign of resistance by locals) being attacked; the unrest carried on into the early hours of the morning. I’ve been following the aftermath very closely, especially on Twitter, and contributing where I could; partly due to ideological reasons, but mostly because it’s all happening in my back yard and I see its impact on the community every time I set foot outside my front door. You can read what I believe to be the most unbiased report of the incident here.
Many reasons have been offered as to why it happened, and what chain of events led to what was dubbed ‘The Battle of Bristol’ by The Independent the next day. It’s led to a flurry of activity in the blogosphere, with almost everyone tweeting on #stokescroft linking back to posts elucidating their take on the issue. This particular post was one of my favourites, although I do wish the author would reconsider shopping at Tesco. The Guardian website also offered an astute analysis of the cultural and social landscape of Stoke’s Croft, and the reasons why the residents have taken on the behemoth that is the third largest retailer in the world.
The video is well worth watching; it was made by a resident of Stoke’s Croft and shows what people local to the area believe led to the largest riot Bristol has seen since 1980.
From what I gather that Tesco opened back up again today. I’ll be catching a bus past tomorrow and having a look to see. Not sure what will happen if that’s the case, I expect some mates will be back outside there protesting but there again they may be too busy with exams. I don’t expect this is the end of it though.