Cardiff riot: how tension over fatal crash spiralled into violence (Video and Pictures)
Cardiff riot: how tension over fatal crash spiralled into violence
Some children picked their way through the rubble to school; many others stayed at home or roamed around in pyjamas and dressing gowns.
Ahmad, whose taxi was attacked, said rioters had jumped all over his car and thrown missiles at it. “I couldn't believe what I was seeing,” he said. “I heard one of them saying they wanted to kill a police officer.”
Council workers swept up the debris, and householders came out with watering cans and brushes to clean off the site of the accident, where throughout the day hundreds of people arrived to lay flowers.
Some neighbours claimed those involved in the disturbance may have been inspired by the notorious Ely bread riots of 1991, unrest said to have started with a dispute between two shopkeepers.
The rumours continued to swirl about the cause of the crash and by mid afternoon residents shared a video clip with members of the press. It shows a police vehicle apparently following an electric bike on Frank Road in Ely at 5.59pm, minutes before the fatal crash on nearby Snowden Road.
At 5pm on Tuesday – 23 hours after the crash – a press conference took place behind Cardiff Bay police station. Ch Supt Martyn Stone said there were no police vehicles on Snowden Road when the boys were killed.
He said the force got the call to the fatal incident at 6.03pm and did not believe “at this stage” that any other vehicle was involved. A police vehicle on nearby Grand Avenue had responded to reports of the collision and officers performed CPR.
But Stone also said they were aware of the clip showing a police vehicle following a bike at just before 6pm and it would form part of their investigation. The force has referred itself to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Ely is one of the most deprived areas in Wales. Canon Jan Gould, priest of the Church of the Resurrection in the district, said the country needed to think about the factors that led to the riot.
“Years ago there were lots of hard, manual jobs in this area – a brewery, a paper mill, biscuit factory. Those jobs have mostly gone. There's not that much here for young people.”
Two years ago, the BBC sport presenter Jason Mohammad, who is from Ely, voiced anger at a lack of government help for the area since the bread riots, telling the Guardian: “I feel angry that the Westminster government and the Senedd government haven't addressed the needs of these people.”
One resident, Liam Mackay, said at the time: “It seems cool now to ride a bike around Ely and smash a window. People are filming it on social media and people are becoming famous on LADbible and some of these platforms … We could be one night away from that happening again.”
He turned out to be right and the worry is there could be more violence to come.
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