As quickly as some of London’s neighborhoods collapsed into chaos, cleanup brigades have sprung to life–thousands of them being guided into action via Twitter and Facebook. “The footage last night of high streets and independent shops burning was terrifying to watch and I wanted to find a way to help that was quick, simple and practical,” Dan Thompson, an artist, told the BBC. Thompson created a Twitter campaign, @riotcleanup, that’s already amassed 70,000 followers and has inspired a host of similar efforts in other cities:
He said seeing hundreds of people in Clapham waving brooms in the air was a symbol of what Londoners and the British stand for, “It’s phenomenal,” he said.
He added that when Boris Johnson visited the area this afternoon there were cries of “Boris where’s your broom?” before the London Mayor got stuck in to help volunteers.
For many Londoners, the cleanup effort has brought a shared spirit of community back to neighborhoods shaken by the sudden–and senseless–violence. BBC journalist Michael Hirst said about 300 to 400 people had gathered for a cleanup effort organized online. “Sunshine, high spirits, lots of joking and a community vibe,” he said. One participant described it as “London at its best.”
Watch the story, from the BBC:
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